Wilshere: Arsenal would never sell me to a big rival for £16m


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The Independent Football

Jack Wilshere last night expressed his surprise Manchester United sold Danny Welbeck to Arsenal so cheaply and insisted the north London club would not do United a similar favour.

Welbeck is set to make his Arsenal debut against champions Manchester City at the Emirates tomorrow having signed for £16m on transfer deadline day.

Former United defender Gary Neville has criticised them for allowing a home-grown talent to join a fierce rival.

Arsenal have sold foreign talent like Robin van Persie to United, while Samir Nasri, Bacary Sagna, Gaël Clichy and Emmanuel Adebayor left them for Manchester City. But Wilshere believes they would never let a young England international like himself go as United did with Welbeck.

Wilshere said: “Gary Neville knows what he’s talking about. He probably said what he said because Danny’s a Manchester United boy, he grew up there. It’s a bit like Arsenal letting me go for £16m. It probably won’t happen.

“In today’s market £16m is nothing really. With the quality Danny’s got, we have a bargain.

“There are not many players that leave one top club for another in England, especially English players. It’s unheard of really.

“Danny can make the difference for Arsenal this season. He has great quality and will be good for us.”

Wilshere’s performances for club and country have come increasingly under the spotlight of late. The 22-year-old has been told he must raise his game by ex-players, including Independent columnist Paul Scholes, who this week questioned whether he is the right option to play as a defensive midfielder for England.

Wilshere is determined to ignore the critics, but admits he cannot use his youth as an excuse for not performing in matches. Speaking at the BGC Charity Day in London, where he raised money for charity the Great Ormond Street Hospital, he said: “I know the people who are going to help me in my career and who has an influence on me – the boss [Arsène Wenger] and a few coaches who I respect. Everyone else can say what they want – I won’t listen to them.

“I think age is an easy excuse and I will never use it. You know, I’ve been around for a while now, it’s six years since I made my debut. In a normal career that would be 20 years, but football is a short career. I’m feeling good, fully fit and raring to go.

“When I was younger, I’d look at the criticism and when you have a bad game it gets on top of you. But in football you play every three days so there is always a time to put  it right.”

Wilshere has helped Arsenal make an unbeaten start to the season and feels victory over the champions tomorrow would be a firm message that they can win the title this term. He said: “Obviously if we do win it, I’m sure it will send out a strong statement, we’ve been here before.

“Normally we start the season really well, it’s when we get to February/March time we start to drop off. But this year we have added a few world-class players and hopefully that will make the difference.

“We’ve had a strong start to the season but it’s not easy, especially when right in the middle of that you have to travel to Besiktas [for the Champions League qualifier], getting back at 5am.

“If you look at the Everton game [2-2], I think you would say given the circumstances we would have taken a draw there. Maybe against Leicester [1-1] we could have won the game, but we’re unbeaten and that is the main thing. Come Saturday, I think we will be ready for it.”

Jack Wilshere was speaking at the BGC Charity Day at Canary Wharf raising money for Great Ormond Street.