Paul Scholes has sought to clarify his previously scathing statements relating to the progress of Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, with the legendary former Manchester United star expressing his disappointment that Wilshere was not being helped by manager Arsene Wenger.
Former England international Scholes - who officially retired for a second time last summer after winning 11 Premier League titles in a glorious 18-year career at Old Trafford - ruffled a few Gunners feathers towards the end of the 2013/14 campaign after appearing to suggest that Wilshere had not shown improvement in the five years since he first burst onto the scene at the Emirates Stadium.
Such forthright views were expressed during one of Scholes' very first appearances as a television pundit, with the 39-year-old having now quickly developed a reputation for searing honesty after so many years of holding back from interviews and frequent media appearances.
With the Premier League season now officially back underway, Scholes claims he wasn't deliberately trying to criticise Wilshere as such, merely expressing a common desire to see him do better.
"I wasn't having a pop [at Wilshere]," he was quoted by The Daily Star.
"I was disappointed he wasn't being helped by his club, by his manager or his assistant manager. As an English midfield player I just want him to do better. I know he has had a nightmare with those ankles, but I played against him when he was 17 and I just thought 'Jesus'."
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Wilshere has become somewhat of a controversial figure in recent months, with the talented playmaker incurring the wrath of supporters and pundits alike once again during the summer after pictures were released in the press that showed him smoking during an off-season break in Las Vegas.
It was not the first time that Wilshere has come under fire for using cigarettes, he received criticism from Wenger himself last October after being photographed with one during a night on the town.
While Scholes has been very outspoken about Wilshere's progress on the field, he appears surprisingly unconcerned about his other antics.
"What Jack gets up to in the summer is up to him," he added.
"He had a smoke, but it's not the end of the world. At United the laundry room used to be full of smoke in the mornings because Laurent Blanc and Fabien Barthez wouldn't start training until they had a cigarette."
Wenger will presumably reject claims that he wasn't helping Wilshere, with the Frenchman always having appeared a popular figure among his playing staff.
Wilshere started Arsenal's impressive 3-0 Community Shield Victory over reigning top-flight champions Manchester City last weekend and featured for 69 minutes during the somewhat laboured triumph over Crystal Palace on Saturday evening.
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