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Arsenal boss Unai Emery opens up on West Ham midfielder Jack Wilshere

PUBLISHED: 22:35 23 August 2018 | UPDATED: 22:39 23 August 2018

West Ham United's Jack Wilshere during the Premier League match at London Stadium against Bournemouth (pic Nigel French/PA)

West Ham United's Jack Wilshere during the Premier League match at London Stadium against Bournemouth (pic Nigel French/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

Arsenal boss Unai Emery has been speaking about the club’s former midfielder Jack Wilshere ahead of the London derby against the team he left North London for, West Ham.

West Ham United's Jack Wilshire says it's a good time to play Arsenal. PAWest Ham United's Jack Wilshire says it's a good time to play Arsenal. PA

The 26-year-old left the Gunners in the summer after 17 years at the club to join Mauricio Pellegrino at the London Stadium.

Wilshere struggled with injuries and loss of form during his latter time with the club, and was loaned out to Bournemouth for the 2016-17 season.

He forced his way back into the side last term but was allowed to leave after Emery replaced Arsene Wenger as head coach.

The Hitchin-reared midfielder, who burst onto the scene as a fresh-faced 16-year-old, posted on social media after meeting new boss Emery in June that he decided to leave Arsenal in favour of regular first team football – which the former PSG boss could not guarantee.

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has been speaking at London Colney. PAArsenal head coach Unai Emery has been speaking at London Colney. PA

Reflecting on the former England midfielder’s departure, Emery said: “Our conversation was very clear.

“For me, one thing is important for him – to be a protagonist in a new project.

“Because maybe here he would not be the protagonist each match on the pitch. I am happy if he finds [an opportunity to be the] protagonist at West Ham. The first conversation [between us] was in this direction.”

All eyes will be on Arsenal after Emery’s side lost their opening two league matches to Manchester City and Chelsea.

West Ham go into Saturday’s London derby in the same boat having lost two out of two, falling 2-1 at home to Bournemouth in East London on the first day before Liverpool comprehensively outclassed them 4-0 at Anfield last time out.

Emery has nothing but admiration for Wilshere, but his focus is soley on winning Saturday’s match, adding: “I respect his decision [but] I think we closed this conversation.

“Now I am very concentrated for us and for our players.

“Before the match we can remember him, and then over 90 minutes we are thinking about winning this match.”

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