The Sport Matrix: Wenger praises Wilshere as Arsenal earn draw


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The Independent Online

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger praised Jack Wilshere as “an honest guy” who had responded to a difficult week in which he was pictured smoking outside a nightclub to score a crucial equaliser as Arsenal drew 1-1 with West Bromwich Albion.

Wilshere (above) struck in the 63rd minute to protect an unbeaten run for Arsenal that now stretches to 11 games. Asked whether he was sure that Wilshere had stopped smoking, Wenger replied “I don’t know” although the Arsenal manager did so with a smile that suggested otherwise. It was Wilshere’s first goal in the Premier League since November 2010.

Wenger said: “At least the goal is done now. He had a difficult first half where he was fouled a lot. But showed he has character and kept going. I’m happy he was rewarded. He was pushed over a lot. I don’t think he was fouled dirty but pushed over. He didn’t get the fouls. In the second half he put in some great balls and had a very good second half.”

Wenger added: “He’s an honest guy. When he’s wrong he knows it.” MORE

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Sam Wallace

Some find it unpalatable that footballers are occasional smokers – like Wayne Rooney – but the England side’s failure to keep the ball for sustained periods of games is a far greater concern. MORE