Football

Wenger: Wilshere is not a smoker

Jack Wilshere is "not a smoker", according to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

Speaking at the Gunners press conference yesterday morning (Singapore time), Wenger responded to photos of the England midfielder holding a shisha pipe at a nightclub which were posted on social media earlier this week.

"I have spoken with him about that. He is not a smoker, he is sorry about what happened, but he has to master his own life," said the Arsenal manager.

"When he is here, he has to follow the rules. This photo has been taken at half past 12 after the Super Bowl. I don't know what happened really.

"Away from the club, it is his responsibility to master his life."

Wenger said that Wilshere has always behaved in a professional way at the club.

"You have been 20 (years old), sometimes you need to ease the pressure," he said.

"Today, everywhere you go, people make photos, but one second of your life does not define who you are."

Wenger feels some of the negative headlines which surround Wilshere are unfair, given the player's dedication to his football career, which has been hampered by injury.

"You are always worried for your players that they get what they don't deserve, but I think I observe him well and he behaves in a very professional way," said the Arsenal manager.

"Every morning, he is certainly one of the first in and, every afternoon, certainly the last out. He works very hard.

"Jack has gone through some bad spells in his career and always recovered.

"It would be wrong to give him that kind of reputation because he is a serious player and he works very hard.

"He is two weeks ahead of schedule in his (recovery) training, and you don't do that if you are not serious."

Wenger, though, warned that once Wilshere was fully fit, there would be no guarantee of being able to walk straight back into the Arsenal team.

"Any player has a battle in our squad now," he said.

"We have a compact squad, but a very competitive one in every position, so you need to be at your best to have a chance to play."

- PA Sport.