Paul Scholes has backtracked on his original comments over Jack Wilshere to heap praise on the Arsenal star.
Scholes caused plenty of upheaval in March this year after criticising the 22-year-old for failing to develop since first emerging on the scene as a 17-year-old. The comments inspired Wilshere to track down the Manchester United legend to confront him.
The original comments
His original quotes, spoken on Sky Sports, read: "Jack Wilshere came on the scene and looked a top young player but he has never really gone on. He needs the characters like Vieira next to him to take him to the next level. He doesn't look any better player now than he did when he was 17."
Naturally, Arsenal fans were aghast at the comments. Although Scholes seemed to have a point, he failed to take into account Wilshere's struggle with injury over the early stage of his career.
Scholes has obviously earned the right to an opinion on such matters. The former England international enjoyed a glorious career with Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson. Appearing over 500 times in the Premier League, Scholes played a part in all 13 of Manchester United's Premier League triumphs.
But Scholes has now moved to extinguish the fire by expanding on his comments. He said Wilshere still has the potential to become a major star for both Arsenal and England, believing this season could be his breakthrough year.
He told talkSPORT: “I always seem to upset people whenever I say anything. I don’t mean to, honestly!
“I played against Jack at 17 and thought what a player we’ve got here. And I don’t feel he’s gone to the next level yet.
"But you have to remember he’s had horrendous injury problems with his ankle and I’m sure the best is still to come from Jack. I hope so anyway because he’s an English midfield player and I want him to do well.
“And he’s playing for a good team at Arsenal as well. I think they could have a good season, especially if Aaron Ramsey stays fit, and they’ve made a great signing in Alexis Sanchez. So hopefully this is the year when Jack really comes of age.”
It has been a torrid few years for Wilshere after he broke into the Arsenal squad. Roughly two years have been lost to injury while off-field controversies have damaged his reputation. Wilshere has been caught smoking twice in six months, forcing Arsene Wenger to speak to the player over his responsibilities.
Meanwhile his Arsenal team-mate Aaron Ramsey has developed into one of the most effective midfielders in the Premier League. Now it seems Wilshere will be struggling to get into the Arsenal starting XI.