December 5 2013 Latest news:
By James Cunliffe
Friday, October 4, 2013
Arsene Wenger plans to talk to Jack Wilshere after he was photographed smoking in the early hours of Thursday morning but would not reveal if it is a punishable offence at Arsenal.
The midfielder, who was dropped to the bench for Tuesday’s 2-0 Champions League win over Napoli, was snapped with revellers on a night out and his manager today condemned his actions.
“I disagree completely with that behaviour,” Wenger said. “I don’t really know what happened.
“I will have to have a chat with him about that.
“There are two things; first of all, when you are a football player you are an example and you don’t do what damages your health.
“You can damage your health at home; you can smoke at home and you can drink at home and nobody sees it.
“But when you go out socially [and smoke] you damage your reputation as an example as well.”
Asked what he will say to the Englishman, Wenger said: “I will leave that between him and me.
“It’s a question I face that I didn’t know about.”
Famously, Dutch master Johan Cruyff smoked 20 cigarettes a day and still put in world-class performances during his pomp in the seventies.
Wenger revealed that the habit was only too common during his playing days too, but that the health, social and football landscape has changed drastically since those days.
“Yes, of course things are different, in England especially,” the Arsenal boss said.
“You don’t need to convince me because I must tell you I travelled, as a football player on coaches after games in France, where you didn’t see each other [because] there was so much smoke on the coach.
“Everybody smoked but times have changed. The health worry, the example and the role models from the football players has changed as well.
“I must say as well that English society is very sensitive to smoking, much more than France and southern countries, so it’s a bit more shocking here that it is somewhere else.”
Wilshere’s representatives maintained the 21-year-old was taking part in a “prank” where he agreed to hold the cigarette as part of a “dare”.
Wilshere later tweeted a photograph of French World Cup-winning superstar Zinedine Zidane and followed it up with another post that read: “But for the record....I don’t smoke!”
Wenger, however, asserted that the midfielder, who has featured in 10 games this term, is integral to his plans.
“He’s a very important player here,” the Frenchman said. “All my plans for the future of the club have always been built with Jack [in mind] and around Jack.
“We had some setbacks with him but he’s a very important player in my squad.”