Jack Wilshere character praised by Arsene Wenger following cigarette incident as midfielder equalises in Arsenal draw with West Brom

England international endured a tough start to the match at the Hawthorns

Arsene Wenger praised the character of Jack Wilshere after the midfielder came up with the equaliser to earn Arsenal a 1-1 draw at West Brom.

The England international, whose deflected strike cancelled out Claudio Yacob's opener, had a below-par game by his own standards.

"He had trouble today to find the rhythm," Gunners manager Wenger said on Sky Sports 1.

"But he has character as well. He doesn't give up, he continues to play his game.

"I believe he was fouled a few times, pushed over and didn't get the fouls he deserved."

Wilshere admitted he did not find it easy playing out wide.

"It was a tough game, coming here is never easy. We are happy with the point," 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."

The midfielder has been in the spotlight this week after being photographed smoking and was pleased to respond.

He added: "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."

Wenger admitted a draw was probably a fair result, with both sides missing chances to win it.

He said: "Over the whole game I think it's a fair point, over the last half-an-hour I have some regrets, because we could feel we had the opportunities to score a second goal.

"We again have shown character to come back into this game."

Aaron Ramsey came off early in the second half, but Wenger reported the Wales international was okay.

"He's all right, he had a kick," said the Frenchman. "I saw that he was not completely running free so I took him out."

The draw lifted Arsenal back above Liverpool to the top of the Premier League, with the two sides level on points, heading into the international break.

"It's a good position to start again after the break," Wenger added.

Baggies manager Steve Clarke was pleased to see his side follow up their shock win at Manchester United by taking more points off one of the title contenders.

"We started slowly this year," he said. "The last four games have been much better, we played to a good level.

"We gave as good as we got (today) and we stood toe to toe with one of the better teams in the division."

West Brom midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu claimed missed chances cost them victory, with Nicolas Anelka was guilty of missing an excellent chance for a second for the hosts.

He said: "We did really well. I think we had a great chance to score, Nicolas missed a great chance. We are really happy with point today."