Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has expressed his frustration at the criticism he has received from Jamie Redknapp, bemoaning the lack of empathy shown by the Sky TV pundit.
Former Liverpool and Spurs midfielder Redknapp last month revealed that he could not see Wilshere improving soon, saying “Jack Wilshere’s problem is Jack Wilshere” and adding that he had “no excuses anymore.”
The 22-year-old’s progress has been hampered by injuries since he made his sensational breakthrough into the first team in 2008, and his performances have also been criticised by former players including Jamie Carragher and Paul Scholes.
Wilshere, who has made four starts for Arsenal to date this season, has expressed his disappointment at Redknapp’s comments, highlighting the lack of understanding shown by the former England midfielder whose own career was cut short by a series of injuries.
Speaking ahead of England’s European Championship’s Qualifier against Switzerland in Basle, Wilshere said:
With all due respect, if anything, I think Redknapp should have a little bit of [empathy]. He was injured more than I was.
It’s easy for someone to go on television and say ‘he should be doing this, he should be doing that’ but if you look back, he was injured just as much as I was. Maybe more than I was.
And he was never injured at my age as well and it does take a lot of mental strength [to come back].
So to hear people go on TV and say ‘he’s got to be doing this or that’ – I don’t need that.
I listen to people like the boss here, Gary Neville, people who talk a lot of sense and can help me with my game.
In recent months Wilshere has sought feedback on how to improve his game from former players such as Paul Scholes and Gary Neville, and the 22-year-old Englishman accepts that criticism is part of the modern game.
It doesn’t hurt me as much, it probably disappoints me a little bit more.
It’s easy to go on TV and say ‘he’s got to do this or that,’ ‘if he’s not fit he’s not in the starting line-up’ and ‘he’s got to get fitter’. That’s the easy way out.
I heard what Robbie Savage said and that was, if you like, the first ex-player to give me constructive criticism. I respected that. I’ll take criticism.
I know that’s part and parcel of football, but when it’s just reckless and aggressive, I don’t listen.
Wilshere, who has also come under fire for being caught smoking over the summer, accepts that it is important to be a good role model, and understands that he needs to have a good campaign for both his club and country.
The 22-year-old will be looking to kick on after injury hit campaigns, and establish himself as a first team regular under Wenger to prove the criticism he has received over recent months wrong.