Wenger: Wilshere made a mistake but is ready for action

Wayne Rooney is not the only footballer who has been on the news not the sports pages of late, but Arsène Wenger believes his young Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere is fully focused on the job in hand, namely helping his side beat Bolton Wanderers at the Emirates today.

The England Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce felt the 18-year-old had "taken his eye off the ball" following his arrest and bail in the wake of a late-night fracas in Kensington, which resulted in Wilshere being left on the bench for the European Championship qualifier in Portugal.

However, the youngster helped galvanise England when introduced as a second-half substitute against Lithuania in Colchester on Tuesday, as Pearce's side booked their place in the play-offs with a 3-0 win.

Wilshere – who holds the record for Arsenal's youngest first-team appearance in the Premier League – spent a spell on loan at Bolton last season, and is now very much in Wenger's plans.

"I have spoken to him since his arrest and he is focused," said Wenger. "I believe he is always focused. When he is on the football pitch, he wants the ball and to play. It could have been a concern of Pearce, but I believe Jack is a happy boy on the football pitch."

Despite the spotlight falling on footballers for their errant behaviour lately Wenger feels players eventually grow out of such things. "We have all been 20 years old – none of us were angels at 20, and we have all made mistakes," said the Arsenal manager, 60. "But I believe as well that what makes careers is at some stage they know when to stop and when to focus on their job and that is most important.

"I believe the youth today is not worse than they were 10 years ago. Overall every generation criticises the generation that replaces them, it has been the case since the Romans.

"People that make careers are people that have the dedication and motivation and in every generation you have that. All managers have a little bit of an educational responsibility, but that is to behave well on the football pitch first. Our responsibility first is how our players play on the pitch."

The Frenchman Sebastien Squillaci is set to make his Arsenal debut in central defence today as Thomas Vermaelen picked up an Achilles problem playing for Belgium in the week. Arsenal are also without Robin van Persie, injured at Blackburn before the international break, and Theo Walcott – sidelined for six weeks after damaging his ankle while away with England.

Wenger admits there is little a Premier League manager can do, but keep their fingers crossed and pray for their jet-setting squad to return unscathed. "It is frustrating, but we have to deal with it," he said. Arsenal will have winger Samir Nasri available following successful knee surgery.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried