Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere hopes he can put the smoking episode behind him and concentrate on winning England’s World Cup qualifier against Montenegro.


The midfielder was photographed by reporters smoking a cigarette after Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Napoli in the Champions League. It infuriated manager Arsene Wenger, who immediately criticized the Englishman’s behavior. Wilshere was quick to state that he wasn’t a smoker and the picture was a one off occurance. He also tweeted a picture of Zidane smoking, with a text saying “For the record, I don’t smoke”.

Wilshere played in Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with West Brom over the weekend and he said he has learnt an important lesson:

“I’ve learned that you’ve just got to concentrate on your football. You’re a footballer at the end of the day and when it comes to the weekend you’ve got to be ready. Players and young people make mistakes and I made a mistake. I spoke to the boss and we sorted it out. He put me in the team on Sunday and hopefully I repaid him with a goal, so hopefully it’s all done now.”

Victories against Montenegro and Poland will ensure England qualify for Brazil automatically. A draw against Montenegro could allow Ukraine to claim top spot. Wilshere is aware of this and is raring to go. He said he has a lot to learn from experienced campaigners like Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard:

“As a young footballer I have grown up watching those two and you can learn things from both of them,” Wilshere said. “The way Steven Gerrard passes the ball, his range of passing and how he puts his foot in and the way Lampard gets forward and his goalscoring record speaks for itself so I can learn from both of them.”

Wilshere was confident in England’s strike force ahead of the match saying:

“We have got Sturridge and Rooney back which is going to be massive for us as you want your best players available,” he said. “Rickie Lambert has done a great job. He scored a couple and did well in Ukraine which was a difficult place to go and be up there on your own and do the job he did.

“We’ve got Defoe as well who can score from any position and Danny Welbeck, who is looking sharp. We have got a good mix there and it can only be helpful for us.”