Arsenal star Jack Wilshere has given Arsene Wenger his unequivocal backing, so much so suggesting he will reconsider his future should the Gunners boss depart.
Wenger is possibly enduring the most torment in his tenure after failing to spend a penny so far this summer, and the weekends 3-1 loss to Aston Villa helped to cause a massive uproar.
Wilshere has always been the most committed Gunner, suggesting in the past he would be happy to see out his career at the club he joined as a 9-year-old. But his responses in a recent interview has cast his Arsenal future in doubt should Wenger leave.
Here is part of the interview exclusively on Zapsportz.com:
Grace: Do you think you will always play for Arsenal?
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Jack: Well yeah, I mean, I want to win things with Arsenal and I want to be there in the future. But if the boss (Arsene Wenger) leaves then things could change, but Arsenal is always in my heart and by signing a deal for the next five years shows my commitment to them and their commitment to me so at the moment everything is good.
Grace: What is it about Arsenal football club that keeps you there?
Jack: I’ve been there since I was nine years old and I’ve grown to love the club and my whole family are only 20 minutes away and my friends are all around here. It’s home for me.
Grace: If you hadn’t of grown up at the Arsenal youth academy, and perhaps grown up at another football academy do you still think you would have wanted to play for Arsenal?
Jack: I’ve always admired Arsenal because of the way they play football and they suit my game, I like to play with the ball and I like to pass it so I don’t really know – but I probably would have wanted to play for Arsenal.
Grace: Last season there was a lot of criticism aimed at Arsene Wenger. Do you think he should still be the manager of Arsenal?
Jack: Yes. I mean, he’s been there for 14 years and he’s always delivered trophies. Okay we’ve had a little dip in the last five or six years but he’s a great manager and people who question his ability are ridiculous. He’s qualified for the Champions’ League for 15 years so I think he’s the right man for the job.
Grace: Why then haven’t Arsenal done so well in recent years?
Jack: I think, maybe, because we have lost a few strong, big-named players, that’s hard for any club. First we’ve lost (Thierry) Henry and then (Cesc) Fabregas, (Samir) Nasri and (Robin) Van Persie. That’s hard, especially when Robin went to another team in England, it makes it harder for us to compete. But now I think we’ve got a good crop of young English players coming through and if we stay together and build something then we can win a trophy in the next few years.
Grace: There was disappointment expressed by fans last season. When you lose a game is there tension in the dressing room afterwards?
Jack: Yeah, there is a lot of tension. It’s our job to win games, so when we don’t win everybody is a bit angry and frustrated. But there are never any arguments… we talk about it and we learn and move on from it.
Grace: Is that the same for the manager? How does he react after you lose a game?
Jack: He doesn’t say much unless he thinks we haven’t tried our best. If we have given 100 per cent, but we have lost to a better team, then it is fair enough. If we haven’t given 100 per cent and we’ve lost because he sensed we weren’t trying then he would be a bit angry! But we all always given 100 per cent.
Grace: What is it like to hear booing in the stadium after you lose?
Jack: It’s not nice but we understand that the fans pay to come and see us. They support us and want to see us win, so if we don’t win we expect to be booed.
Grace: What did it mean to you when Wenger gave you Robin Van Persie’s number 10 shirt last season? Who is your No.10 idol?
Jack: I think I’d been out for more than 14 months then and the boss came to me and said ‘I want you to have the number 10 shirt, I still believe in you’. That was a huge boost for me as my number 10 idol Is Dennis Bergkamp, for me he is the best player of all time. And definitely the best Arsenal player of all time.
Gooners should not get too worked up with what Wilshere has said about his future. He’s a Gooner through and through and would only go elsewhere IF Arsenal went to the pits should Wenger depart. But should the Frenchman leave, the future is bright anyway.
The players will always remain 100% behind Le Professeur, especially the core of the current squad as they’ve been given a chance and developed by the Frenchman himself, so they will be completely loyal.
That in some ways has been Wenger’s downfall of late. He has become too sentimental and has been forgoing signing proven talent to give his starlets a chance. But there has to be a better balance, especially if the homegrown player is not ready. Competition is vital in a squad and healthy.
But Jack’s message is clear, he wants to win things and luckily he has age on his side. If the club do not start pushing for the title or getting into finals of Cup competitions soon an ambitious player such as Wilshere will not remain at Emirates if his sentimental mentor departs.
Not saying Wenger should stay put after his current contract, but the next manager and Club set-up as whole must be geared towards winning the title, not barely squeezing into the top four.