Arsene Wenger has backed departed midfielder Jack Wilshere to have a long career at Arsenal. He believes the midfielder is not only capable of becoming a world class player but possesses the quality to manage Arsenal one day.
Speaking at the press conference ahead of their match against Southampton, Arsene Wenger spoke in defense of Wilshere whose career at Arsenal has been predicted to be over following a deadline day loan move to Bournemouth.
The Frenchman insisted that the 24 year old is still an integral part of Arsenal’s plans and believes he’ll also remain a part of the club as a manager when his playing career is over.
“I hope personally that he stays here his whole career,” said Wenger according to Sky Sports.
“Certainly one day he will be in my [manger’s] seat. He has a real football brain and understands football. You know really, it’s in his genes. I see him in the future at this club of course. He will spend his life in football, he is a football man.
“He has an eye on everybody, it’s in him. You have that or you haven’t got it, but he is a real football man.”
Wilshere is a product of Arsenal youth academy and made his first-team debut as a 16 year old for Wenger in 2008. He has made 150 appearances since then but has struggled to achieve regular first-team action in the recent seasons because of injuries.
Wilshere made his debut for Bournemouth against AC Milan last weekend for manager Eddie Howe and Wenger expects him to impress at his new club and earn a regular place in the team in no time.
“If he plays, he will play really well because he cannot play badly,” Wenger said.
“But the first person to be happy about that, would be me. I do not try to be right, but if I give him out and he plays, I will be more right.
“What you want more than anything is for a player with his talent to play. In a selfish way, you want him to play for your club but there is a bigger perspective, you want him to play and express his talent.”
Wenger further stated that allowing him to leave is in no way a reflection on Wilshere’s skills as he believes that the midfielder still remains a “world class” player.
“He has a great footballing brain, and understands everything that is going on on the football pitch. He is most dangerous when you give him the ball in the final third,” Wenger said.
“We had a chat together and he himself was concerned that he would not get enough competition early enough, because he feels ready to play.
“I couldn’t guarantee that, so that’s why [we took] the decision.”
Wenger also revealed contract extension talks will be held between the club and Wilshere by the end of the current year.
“I want him to extend, yes,” said the Frenchman. “I think [talks will start] around December. When I make a decision it is in the best interests of the player and of his interest as well.
“I try always to combine the interests of the club and the interests of the player. In this case that’s what I try to do. After, sometimes it doesn’t always come out as you want him to. But he is a real Arsenal man as well.”
Former Arsenal players Thierry Henry, Freddie Ljungberg and Robert Pires have all adopted different roles at Arsenal after a successful playing career at Arsenal. Henry recently withdrew his under-18 coach at Arsenal to undertake the role of Assistant Manager for Belgium national team. Pires is the ambassador of the Arsenal Foundation and joins first-team training from time-to-time while Ljungberg is Arsenal’s under-16s coach.
Arsene Wenger may be right to speculate a return for Wilshere at the Emirates but a managerial career seems like a long shot. The England international has a long way to go in developing as a football player despite possessing the quality to become one of the Arsenal elites. All three players, Henry, Ljungberg and Pires had shown leadership skills during their playing career at the club and were therefore welcomed at the Emirates after they retired.
Obviously the presence of love for the club is a major factor that influences the return of former Arsenal players which is very evident in Wilshere, but they should equally possess the discipline apart from experience on the pitch, which currently are the two factors Wilshere lacks.
All in all, it is too soon to imagine Wilshere shouting at the players from the dug out but it is hoped that he returns a better player from Bournemouth and plays an important part in bringing glory days back to Arsenal.