Arsene Wenger plays down Jack Wilshere’s ‘shisha pipe-gate’ photo
Arsene Wenger used his press conference this morning, ahead of Arsenal’s north London derby with Tottenham Hotspur tomorrow, to reveal Jack Wilshere has apologised for the photo that appeared on Instagram of him holding a shisha pipe.
Wenger confirmed he had spoken to Wilshere about the photo.
Whatever might have been said privately between Wenger and Wilshere we can only speculate, but Wenger was this morning as you might expect supportive of his player in public.
“I’ve spoken with him about that [smoking] and he’s not a smoker. He is of course sorry for what has happened. It’s down to him to master his life. He had the day off the next day and he went out to watch the Superbowl. When he’s here he has to follow the rules that we dictate here, when he’s out of his job it’s his own responsibility to behave like he wants to behave. I don’t think there’s any more to add-on that. I believe his photo has been taken at half past 12 when he watched the Superbowl. I don’t know any more of what happened and it’s not of a big interest.”
Asked whether he was worried about Wilshere’s reputation, Wenger added.
“You’re 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, I must say. Every morning he’s certainly one of the first in and every afternoon certainly the last out. He works very hard, he’s gone through some bad spells in his career and always recovered. It would be wrong to give him that kind of reputation because he’s a serious player and he works very hard.”
Asked whether he felt Wilshere had learnt from his past indiscretions relating to smoking, Wenger concluded.
“You have been 23 as well. You need sometimes to relieve 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. I believe you have to take that with a distance as well. I remember when I was in Brazil, I have been seen with some photos by people I didn’t even know were around me so you have to be very careful about that. I believe he 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. As I told you, he is first in, last out, and he works very hard to get there. I am not worried at all about that.”
Wilshere posted an Instagram video last night showing a recent fitness session, 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!”
Wenger confirmed that Wilshere will return to full training with the first team squad next week..