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Wilshere: People forget my age

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere thinks that people forget he is still only 21 when they criticise him.

The 21-year-old, who is currently on international duty with England, has seen his last two seasons affected by various injuries and has also fallen under the media spotlight for a number of off-the-field incidents.

Such episodes include being pictured with a cigarette outside a nightclub and also controversially questioning what defines nationality last month, the latter of which led to a Twitter confrontation with South African-born England cricketer Kevin Pietersen.

But while accepting that his position as a Premier League and international footballer will lead to him being in the news, he feels the public and media should remember his age before criticising him too heavily.

“Yes, I do think (people forget my age),” he told Arsenal’s official website. “Not just because I’ve been around for a long time, but people hear I’ve got two kids and it’s not often you hear about a 21-year-old with two kids.

“I’ve been in the first team since I was 16 so that’s five years and that’s quite a long time in football terms.

“I made my debut when I was 16 and the aim was to play for England and it came pretty quickly – when I was 18. Then the main thing after that was to keep my place in the Arsenal team week in, week out and I did during that season.

“I then had a frustrating year with injury and it’s tough when you’re out injured, you’ve got to come back. People think that when you’re out injured you don’t do a lot of work but you do, trust me.

“It’s tough but last season I got back into the team, got fit again and had 30-odd games which was nice, and this year I’ve stayed fit so far and that’s the aim for the rest of season.

“I play week in, week out against 31 and 32-year-olds so I think you just have to take that (close scrutiny).

“People are always going to criticise you and judge your performances all the time. They are paid to do that, so you have to concentrate on your own game.”

Wed 13 November, 2013
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