Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Wenger's all right with Jack

Jack Wilshere claimed Arsenal's equaliser in a 1-1 draw at The Hawthorns

Arsene Wenger was pleased to see Jack Wilshere in the spotlight for the right reasons as the England midfielder ended a difficult week with his first Barclays Premier League goal in almost three years.

Wilshere was placed under the media spotlight ahead of the visit to West Brom when pictures emerged of him apparently smoking on a night out.

He responded by claiming his side's equaliser in a 1-1 draw at The Hawthorns, albeit via a Jonas Olsson deflection.

It was not Wilshere's finest ever performance, with the England midfielder struggling to impose himself in the first half, but it was an apt time to end a remarkable league drought which stretches back to a 4-2 win at Aston Villa in November 2010.

"He is an honest lad and when he's wrong he knows it," said boss Arsene Wenger, whose side go top of the table by virtue of scoring more goals than fellow pacesetters Liverpool.

"Today the players do not get away with anything - we got away with a bit more. But they know that is the rule of the game and the rules of modern society and they have to deal with it.

"But what is more interesting for England and for Arsenal is that he shows the right response on the pitch.

"He had a difficult first half where he was fouled a lot but showed he has character and kept going. At least that (barren run) is done now."

Wilshere was clearly delighted to find the back of the net - and celebrated accordingly - but Wenger suggested there is no real pressure to up his scoring rate considerably.

"I don't think he will ever be a goalscorer," said the Frenchman. "He's a player who can create chances and provide for others. In our job it is quite simple: you need players who score and players who give the ball to those who score.

"Jack is more in the second category than the first. But from the second category you want a few goals as well so it is good that he knows he can score."

Wenger, though, could not resist a smile when asked if Wilshere has smoked his final cigarette.

"I don't know," he said through a smirk. "Wilshere himself was glad simply to have helped his team to a point.

"At the end of the day when it comes to the weekend you've got to do your job and today we've done it well," he said.

"It was a tough game for me. I am not used to playing on the wing, I'm still learning it, but I'm happy to do it for the team. I got a goal, which was nice - I've always said I want to score more goals."

Baggies boss Steve Clarke was chipper about taking a point from the table toppers, even though Claudio Yacob's opener just before the interval gave them the chance to take all three.

It follows a 2-1 away win over Manchester United and sends Albion into the international break in impressive form.

"I'm pleased with the players for another good game against another top team," said the Scot.

"On the back of what we did at Old Trafford four points from these two games is a good return for us. But it's not just the fact we're getting results against top teams it's that we're in the game. We look a good team.

"It was a good game between two good teams. I thought we more than deserved the point."

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre