Arsene Wenger felt Jack Wilshere had answered his critics in the best way by inspiring Arsenal‘s 2-2 home draw with Manchester City.
The England international has been under a lot of scrutiny in the last six months or so and recently, former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has been vocal in questioning why Wilshere’s development has stalled since he made his debut for Arsenal (The midfielder made his first team debut in 2008 and became Arsenal’s youngest ever league debutant at the age of 16 years, 256 days).
Arsenal were losing against City on the weekend as Sergio Aguero’s opener was not cancelled out by the Gunners for a long time. However, the 22-year-old issued the perfect response by scoring the equlizer for his side, and then setting up new boy Alexis Sanchez to get his side in the lead. Martin Demichelis’ late header salvaged a 2-2 draw for City but everyone was left impressed by Arsenal’s comeback and in particular, Wilshere’s performance.
Wenger said, “The best place to answer critics is on the pitch. That’s what Jack did, but I don’t believe we can explain his good performance through the criticism of Paul Scholes. You have to respond to critics when you’re in a public job. You have accept criticism, go on the pitch and show you have the talent. The most important thing is to go show how good you are.
“Jack finished with his right foot and chipped a goalkeeper who knows him well. I’m very happy with that way he finished. He looked dangerous in the first half as well because he has found his pace again. I’m very happy.”
England coach Roy Hodgson used him as the defensive midfielder at the base of a diamond against Switzerland but Wenger believes Wilshere should be employed ahead.
“Jack was always a boy who was at his most dangerous in the final third. That’s why I prefer him to play higher up the pitch,” Wenger said.
“One of his qualities is penetrating in the final third, but I’m not against him being defensive. He can do both because he is a good footballer. For a long time he didn’t kick the ball well because of his ankle injury.
“The big difference now is that he stays on the feet, whereas before for a while when he was not as confident to push on his ankle he would go down. Now he has that solid aspect to the game he had before he was injured.”
Wilshere said he is happy to play anywhere, but his words indicated he prefers playing the attacking role.
“Naturally I want to go forward more. In Arsenal’s formation it’s nice to play forward and in the England one it’s different. I’m happy to play either way,” said the 22 year old
It was Wilshere’s first goal since January and the the 22 year old admitted that he needs to be more prolific.
“I want to score more goals and my goalscoring record hasn’t been good enough. In the formation we play I should be scoring more goals. We play with one holding and two going forward and I’m the one who gets forward. I’ve had a few chances already this season and I should be scoring more. Hopefully that will be one of many.”