Back in March 2014, Paul Scholes issued a withering assessment of Jack Wilshere’s progress as a footballer.
“Wilshere, what a really top young player, but he has not really gone on,” the former Manchester United midfielder commented after Arsenal drew 2-2 at home with Swansea City. “Injuries have not helped him but he does not look any better player now than when he was 17.”
Rather than feel insulted about Scholes’ comments, Wilshere showed a level of maturity by getting into contact with the former England international.
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“It was a bit strange – out of the blue,’’ Wilshere said, per the Telegraph, at the time. “I remember watching it, he was having a go at Arsenal, and I was thinking: ‘Is he going to come for me?’’
“If it had come from a rubbish player I could say: ‘What are you talking about?’ But it came from Paul Scholes! For me he was the best English midfielder of all time.
“For the next few days after he said that I sat down and talked to my dad and a few of the coaches here. I respect him so much and I think he can make a great coach for any young player. I’m a young player and he’s been there and done it so I wanted to hear what he had to say.
“You live in a world of football where you get criticised all the time. It hurt a bit more when he did it. But in the game today everyone is improving all the time, it’s getting quicker. I just wanted to know what he thought.
“I DMed Gary to ask whether I could have his number. Gary Neville wrote back to me: ‘Just go easy on him.’ We had quite a good chat. He’s entitled to his opinion.
“He explained it a bit better and told me what he thought I should work on. He was right in a certain way. When I first burst on to the scene there was all this ‘blah, blah, blah’ [excited chatter about him] and then I got injured.
“I’ve had bad luck with injuries but I can’t keep saying I’ve been injured a lot. There comes a time when you stop being a kid and I think that’s what he’s referring to.”
Scholes: Wilshere should have joined Roma
But injuries have continued to plague Wilshere, who now finds himself at Bournemouth after Arsene Wenger allowed him to leave the Emirates Stadium on loan this week.
The 24-year-old reportedly received offers from no less than 22 clubs, including Italian giants AS Roma.
And Scholes believes the midfielder should have accepted a temporary switch to the Stadio Olimpico rather than the 11,000-capacity Vitality Stadium.
"I would have liked to have seen him, if he did have to leave Arsenal, go to a big club like Roma,” Scholes told Sky Sports. "Get some experience abroad, I think that would have been great for him and would have been great for the England team as well."
"Just because he is going to Bournemouth, doesn't mean he is going to play all the time.
"He has to perform whatever club you are at, whether you are at Bournemouth, Arsenal, Man United or Roma.
"You still have to perform to play first team football. I'm sure there are other players at Bournemouth who are saying 'I'm going to be playing instead of Jack - I want his place'.
"It always comes back to whether he is fit. I don't know how his ankles are - I know he struggles with them.
"If he stays fit then there is no doubt he is the top player there. But he should be playing for a top three or four club in England and that is what he should be aiming for. I just worry a little that he has set his sights too low."
Will Jack Wilshere regret joining Bournemouth - or will this move allow him to get his career back on track? Have your say by leaving a comment below.