‘He was like “don’t worry, when I have a drink I like a cigarette as well!”‘: Jack Wilshere reveals Arsene Wenger’s reaction to him being pictured smoking during his time at Arsenal
- Jack Wilshere was pictured smoking outside of a nightclub back in 2013
- The midfielder said his biggest worry was the reaction of boss Arsene Wenger
- Wenger criticised him publicly but behind closed doors, was more supportive
- Wilshere responded by tweeting a picture of Zinedine Zidane smoking
The midfielder was pictured lighting up outside a nightclub in 2013 and he admitted to feeling fearful of how Wenger would respond to the incident.
But, speaking to Sky’s Super 6 podcast, he revealed the Arsenal boss took a more supportive approach towards the midfielder than he expected.
Jack Wilshere has revealed Arsene Wenger’s response to him being pictured smoking
WIlshere says that Wenger joked he liked having a cigarette as well after he has been drinking
‘I look back now and realise I made mistakes,’ Wilshere said. ‘At the time, I thought they (the media) were picking on me.
‘I had support around me, from the manager. Arsene was brilliant like that. I remember the first time I got caught with cigarette and the media put it in the paper and that didn’t really bother me, because I was confident I was doing well enough in football.
‘The one thing that was in my head was “oh my god, the boss in going to kill me”. I remember going in the next day, going up to the training pitch and the boss was there.
‘He was like “don’t worry, when I have a drink I like a cigarette as well!”. I was like “oh my god, thank god for that!”. I learnt things and it’s easier now to get caught out because of social media.’
At the time, Wilshere responded by tweeting a picture of Zinedine Zidane, the now Real Madrid manager, smoking.
Wilshere, previously pictured smoking with friends in Las Vegas, reflected on past mistakes
Publicly, Wenger was more critical of Wilshere’s actions.
‘I disagree completely with that behaviour,’ the Frenchman said. ‘First of all, when you are a footballer you are an example, and second, you don’t do what damages your health,’ Wenger said. ‘You can damage your health at home.
‘You can drink at home but nobody sees it, but when you do it in public, you damage your reputation as well. What will I say to him? I will leave that between him and me.’
At the time, a spokesman for Wilshere told Sportsmail: ‘Jack was with friends and team-mates. One dared Jack, who does not smoke, to hold the cigarette momentarily as part of a prank.’
Wilshere was caught smoking again in 2014 in Las Vegas, after England had gone out of the World Cup at the group stage in Brazil.
Wilshere responded at the time by tweeting a picture of Zinedine Zidane smoking
Wilshere is without a club at present after being released from West Ham earlier this year
Wilshere is currently a free agent after having his £100,000-a-week contract torn up by West Ham in October. He has underlined his desire to play abroad and is open to a move to the United States, as well as Serie or LaLiga.
‘I’m open to MLS, Europe anything with the right manager,’ Wilshere said. But one team he still wouldn’t join is Arsenal’s fierce rivals, Tottenham.
‘Ah I love Mourinho as well, I think he’s an unbelievable coach,’ Wilshere said. ‘But I don’t think I could do it! Let’s be honest as well, they wouldn’t have me!
‘I don’t think I could, to be honest. It’s not as if Arsenal got rid of me and kicked me out and there is bad feeling, they offered me a deal and I wanted to try something else. I am an Arsenal man.’
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