Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is not worried about Jack Wilshere’s reputation after the midfielder was pictured in a newspaper holding a shisha pipe at a nightclub.
Wilshere has before been rebuked by the French boss for twice being photographed smoking but Wenger says “it would be wrong to give the 23-year-old that kind of reputation” because of the latest allegation.
Wenger said: “I’ve spoken with him about that (smoking) and he’s not a smoker. He’s of course sorry for what has happened. It’s down to him to master his life.
“You have been 23 as well. You need sometimes to relive the pressure a bit. I think today it’s much more difficult because everywhere you go people make photos and a photo shows one second of your life. It doesn’t define who you are.
Wenger deemed it right to be objective to such publication, knowing the character in question is a hardworking professional.
“I believe he (Wilshere) works hard, he practices well, he’s ahead of schedule in his training, he’s two weeks ahead, and you don’t do that if you are not serious,” Wenger added in his news conference ahead of Saturday’s north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur.
Wilshere posted a video of himself training on social media with the message: “Worry about your character not your reputation, because your character is who you are and your reputation is only what people who don’t know you think about you.”
The Gunners will make a short trip to White Hart Lane at 12:45GMT on Saturday and will be looking to stay above Mauricio Pochettino’s side in the table on 5th position.
Asked whether the team have buried the ghost from last season’s early afternoon kickoffs, Wenger frankly replied: “This is not true. It’s a joke.”
It’s has often been suggested that the 65-year-old is not a fan of lunchtime kickoffs, having lost 6-3 at Manchester City, gone down 5-1 at Liverpool and then suffered a 6-0 hammering at Stamford Bridge by London rivals Chelsea last season.
Wenger stressed: “We never had any specific problem with the kick off, believe me. What we had a problem with last season in these type of games is the quality of our performance. You know you can play at 1: 30 or 12:45. Let’s be serious- it’s not in those 45 minutes later that you feel absolutely fantastic and terrible 45 minutes earlier.”
Wenger would scrap January transfer window
Arsenal signed defender Gabriel Paulista for a reported fee of £11.2m from Villareal, but the Brazilian may have to wait further than the weekend for his debut, as he has yet to get used to the team’s defensive setup “and hasn’t mastered the language.” Wenger also brought in Polish teenager Krystian Bielik.
In addition to both arrivals, the contract of Chuba Akpom and Francis Coquelin were extended.
While Wenger is “happy” with the club’s dealings, he cited the relative lack of deadline-day scramble this term as a reason why the winter transfer window should be abolished.
“It was never such a low activity level across Europe – basically nothing happened,” he said. “It shows still that financial fair play had an impact, for sure, because we have the experience of seasons before.
“It pushes even more an idea forward – let’s completely get rid of [the transfer window], and go from season to season with the same players.
“Yes [I would scrap January transfers] because it can disturb the cohesion of a group within the season.