Belfast Telegraph

I rang Paul Scholes after he tore strips off me on telly, reveals Jack Wilshere

By Jack Pitt-brooke

Jack Wilshere was so struck by Paul Scholes' criticism of his development on television that he called up the veteran midfielder, whom he idolises, to discuss them.

Wilshere revealed yesterday that after hearing his role model say after the Manchester derby in March that the Arsenal man was not a better player now at 22 than he was at 17, he got in touch with Scholes, through Gary Neville, "to know what [Scholes] thought".

Wilshere considers Scholes "the best English midfielder of all time" and sought his advice.

The two midfielders had what Wilshere described as "quite a good chat". "I wanted to get to the bottom of it," he said.

"I spoke to him, he explained it a bit better and told me what he thought I should work on."

Scholes explained to Wilshere that the Arsenal player needed to start fulfilling his potential.

"There comes a time when you stop being a kid and I think that's what he was referring to," Wilshere said. "He was right in a certain way."

Scholes had said that Wilshere needed to make the most of his potential. "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 [Patrick] 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."

Wilshere is fit to continue his return from injury in Saturday's FA Cup final against Hull City.

He made his first appearance at Norwich City last Sunday after two months out with a broken foot.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain returned to training yesterday as he seeks to be fit for the final and the World Cup.

Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger is confident Arsenal will not wilt under the pressure of their nine-year trophy drought when they take on Hull in the FA Cup final.

Few could have imagined the wait that would follow the Gunners' penalty shootout victory over Manchester United in the 2005 finale at the Millennium Stadium.

No members of that squad remain as Arsenal prepare to step out in an FA Cup final for the first time since then, with manager Wenger the last remaining bastion.

The Frenchman has come under much scrutiny and pressure during that period due to their lack of silverware, although that long wait for a trophy could come to an end when they take on Hull at Wembley this weekend.

"No matter what the result will be, this club can deal with the consequences of any game," Wenger said.

"What is important is that we come out of the game and have the feeling that we gave absolutely our best, our total energy to play at our best and then you always accept the consequences.

"No matter how much we talk about it, you can win and lose but you want to come out of the game feeling you have done the maximum to win and that is what we want to achieve.

"[The drought may make it] a little [more difficult] but at the end of the day once you walk over the line you just focus on your football.

"You don't play with the history, you play with your quality and your desire to play well. It is an opportunity and we have to take a distance with time. We need to just turn up and play well.

"I don't believe we need any warning," continued Wenger.

"We know that a final is a final, that Hull is a Premier League team, they can pass the ball, they can create chances.

"It's just down to us to perform well on the day of the game. We just want to focus on that."

Belfast Telegraph


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