Wenger unhappy with "shocking" Wilshere smoking pictures

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Football News

Arsene Wenger has confirmed he will talk to Jack Wilshere after the Arsenal midfielder was spotted smoking outside a London club last night, and described his actions as "shocking".

Wilshere has found his place in the Arsenal first team under pressure in recent weeks following the arrival of Mesut Ozil and the superb form of Aaron Ramsey, while Santi Cazorla is on his way back to full fitness.

The 21-year-old will have done his chances of regular action few favours after he was snapped puffing on a cigarette on a night out with friends - and Wenger revealed in a press conference ahead of Arsenal's game against West Brom this weekend that he will be having words with the young star.

"I disagree completely with that behaviour," Wenger said. "I don't know what has happened and I will have to have a chat with him about that. When you are a footballer you are an example and also don't do what damages your health.

"You can smoke at home and drink at home and nobody sees it, but when you go out socially, you damage your reputation as well. I have not spoken to him yet and what I saw will be between him and me."

Wilshere is not the first Premier League footballer to have been caught out with a cigarette, and Wenger believes the change in attitude towards smoking in recent years makes the Arsenal man's actions unacceptable.

"I must say the English society is very sensitive to smoking as well," he explained. "It is more shocking here that somewhere like France and you don't need to convince me that times have changed.

"Things are different, in England, especially. I travelled as a footballer player on coaches in France when you didn't see each other with so much smoke on the coach, everybody smokes.

"The example, the role model request on players has changed as well."

However Wenger says that Wilshere remains in his first team plans despite the increased competition in his favoured number 10 spot.

He is a very important player here," he said. "In my plans for the future of the club, they have always built around Jack. We have some setbacks with him, a lot of setbacks, but he is a very important player in my squad."

A spokesman for Wilshere denied he was smoking in the picture, and says he was in fact holding the cigarette as part of a "prank" played by his friends.

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