Jack Wilshere has admitted he was surprised by the criticism levelled at him by former England international Paul Scholes and confirmed he called the retired midfielder to talk in more depth about his apparent lack of progress at Arsenal.
Speaking on Sky Sports back in March Scholes two-footed his way through an analysis of Arsenal’s title chances before turning his critical eye in the direction of 22-year-old Wilshere.
“Jack Wilshere came on the scene and looked a top young player but he has never really gone on,” he said.
“He needs the characters like Vieira next to him to take him to the next level. He doesn’t look any better player now than he did when he was 17.”
Frustrated by the harsh words Wilshere disclosed to the Mirror yesterday that he deliberated over contacting the ex-Manchester United man before finally sourcing Scholes’ number via England coach Gary Neville.
“For the next few days after he said that, I sat down and talked to my dad and a few of the coaches here. I just wanted to hear what he thinks,” said Wilshere
“I respect him so much and I think he can make a great coach for any young player. I am a young player and he has been there and done it, so I wanted to hear what he had to say.
“We had quite a good chat. He is entitled to his opinion, I just wanted to know…
“If it had come from a less respected player, I could say, ‘What are you talking about’, but it came from Paul Scholes! So I wanted to get to the bottom of it.
“I spoke to him, he explained it a bit better and told me what he thought I should work on. For me, he’s the best English midfielder of all time.
“He was right, in a certain way. When I first burst onto the scene there was all this noise [about me] and then I got injured. I have had bad luck with injuries but I can’t keep saying I’ve been injured a lot.
“There comes a time when you stop being a kid and I think that’s what he’s referring to – ‘He’s young, he’s got all this potential, you have to start fulfilling that potential.’
“This season, I have improved a lot, scored a few more than I have in the past and got a few more assists. That side of things…
“You can keep the ball and you can look good but it’s those stats that matter. That’s what I have to build on.”
On one level you might think there was little need for Jack to rise to Scholes’ bait, on the other it demonstrates a maturity and self-awareness that bodes well for the future.
As a teenager Jack was a particularly eye-catching talent (he remains so) but put under the microscope by the media he was inevitably bigged up as something he had yet to become. Throw a couple of ridiculously lengthy injuries into the mix and naturally his development has been a little stunted, however, at the age of 22-years-old he still has over 10-years left at the top and is already a mainstay of the England World Cup set-up.
You only have to look at Aaron Ramsey’s impact this term to see that hard work and determination can quickly have the doubters back-peddling. It wouldn’t surprise Arseblog News to see Jack make a similarly emphatic return to form next year.