Wilshere: Arsenal star plays like Messi

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Football News

Arsenal star Jack Wilshere has jokingly claimed Santi Cazorla's nickname should be 'Messi' after the Spaniard inspired the Gunners to a 5-2 victory in the north London derby.

The former-Malaga playmaker was Arsenal's hero, setting up Olivier Giroud for his side's third, before adding a fourth just after half-time.

And Wilshere, who continued his comeback from long-term injury in impressive fashion, was full of praise for Cazorla after the match, even going so far as to draw comparisons with Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona.

When asked if Cazorla had a nickname among the Arsenal players, Wilshere said: "Not yet. Maybe it should be Messi!"

Back in Spain, where Cazorla played for Villarreal, Recreativo and Malaga, he was known as 'Paquirrin', or Fat Boy, because of an apparent similarly with a celebrity of the same name.

When someone informed Wilshere of this moniker, the England international said: "Maradona then."

The Arsenal academy graduate has played a handful of games alongside the Spain international since Wilshere returned from 17 months out injured, but the young midfielder insisted Cazorla is just the player he thought he'd be.

"His touch and his vision is just a joke," said Wilshere. "He is a dream to play with. He never gives the ball away, he is creative and busy round the pitch. He is a joy to play with."

Since joining Arsenal from Malaga in the summer, Cazorla has quickly established himself as a fan favourite. As a skilful playmaker with an eye for a pass, and a Spanish passport, obvious comparisons have been made with former-Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas, but Wilshere doesn't buy into them.

"He is a different player to Cesc," said Wilshere. "Cesc is more of a passer. With Santi, he can pick the ball up, he can beat people, he has got a great shot on him. He is just different class and he is great to play with."

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