Jack Wilshere and the need for a little self-awareness

(Picture via Mirror.co.uk)

Arsenal had their FA Cup victory parade today and, after their performance at Wembley yesterday, it was a fitting way to end a successful season.  What a performance; Aston Villa may be average, but that shouldn’t detract from just how ruthless Arsene Wenger’s side were and how well they played.

They earned today and the tedious cat-calls from rival fans about what does and does not merit an open-topped bus tour should absolutely be ignored.

Still, the pictures and anecdotes from this lunchtime all concern one player, though: Jack Wilshere.  Wilshere got up to his usual crowd-pleasing antics and, as per tradition, used the opportunity to goad local rivals Tottenham and their supporters.

Fair enough, that’s the rivalry - given the opportunity, I’m sure a Spurs player would welcome the chance to return the favour.

There will be outrage - because football seemingly always has to have outrage now - but there’s no need: the season is over, Wilshere can do what he wants and, by all accounts, the Arsenal fans enjoy seeing him in court-jester mode.

Isn’t there a point, however, at which he should grow some self-awareness?  The Arsenal squad thoroughly deserved their day in front of their supporters, but it’s worth remembering that Wilshere contributed just fourteen minutes to their cup-run and that this was another season in which he was cast to the periphery by injury and tarnished by more accusations about his inability to take proper care of himself.

Given those circumstances, wouldn’t it have been advisable to take more of a supporting role in the festivities?  Enjoy the day out with the fans, go ahead with the gimmicky Tottenham stuff, but make less of a spectacle of yourself.  Earlier this week, Wilshere’s representatives set up an interview with The Mail which led to an Oliver Holt piece which was published before the weekend.  The midfielder came across really well and the article went some way to dispelling a couple of the misconceptions which exist about his character.

Thirty-six hours later, though, he’s put all of those old negative assumptions back in-play.

Footballers can do what they want and the incessant need to castigate them for their imperfections is very tiresome, but Wilshere still has to be smarter.  Pictures like the above are fine when a player has contributed a forty-game season, but when he hasn’t they cast him in a certain light - and, in this instance, he’s inviting more criticism from the press.

Think about it, it doesn’t look good:

“There are all the players who helped win that trophy…and there’s Jack Wilshere, a couple of drinks down at midday, with the cup on his head and mouthing off into a microphone. What a great quarter of an hour he put in, though.”

He’s a talented player - sometimes he really does look like he could be capable of ascending into the game’s stratosphere - but at present he’s almost more synonymous with trophy parades than he is anything on the pitch.   At the moment, he’s more cheerleader than footballer.

Stay fit; develop; win games; earn medals.

Then do what you want.


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