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Jack Wilshere denies singling out Adnan Januzaj, insists ‘England should pick English players’

Oct 9, 2013, 12:30 PM EDT

Jack Wilshere missed the 2011-12 Premier League season with an ankle injury but returned to make 25 appearances in 2012-13. Despite one goal and nine assists in 65 career Premier League appearances, Wilshere remains the subject of much hope and attention in England. Getty Images

There’s been a lot of talk about Arsenal’s star little midfielder this week, and the fact that Jack Wilshere has been having his say back has only added fuel to the fire.

You will remember earlier this week, when Wilshere apologized for being caught smoking a cigarette outside a London club.

But now the England international has waded into the deep and murky waters of nationality and which players should represent the Three Lions. Wilshere’s allowed his opinion, but many believe he’s now getting way out of his depth.

Quotes began to trickle through that the 21-year-old midfielder is all for keeping the English national team only for players born within the tiny confides of the Island nation. This was in reference to the huge debate erupting over which country Manchester United’s new 18-year-old whizkid Adnan Januzaj can represent after England contacting Untied about the Belgian born wingers eligibility.

“If you live in England for five years it doesn’t make you English. The only people who should play for England are English people,” Wilshere said. “If I went to Spain and lived there for five years, I’m not going to play for Spain.”

(MORE: Jack Wilshere sparks debate: Should Adnan Januzaj be allowed to play for England?)

He has a point, and despite the British media and plenty of others jumping on Wilshere’s comments as nationalistic and emanating an uncompromising attitude, the young English star spoke about what it means to be an English soccer player and how that relates to national identity.

“We have to remember what we are. We are English. We tackle hard, are tough on the pitch and are hard to beat. We have great characters. You think of Spain and you think technical but you think of England and you think they are brave and they tackle hard. We have to remember that.”

Many took that as Wilshere talking against Januzaj’s inclusion in any forthcoming England squads, but he wasn’t. By no means is Wilshere talking out against any players who want to play for a country other than the one they’re born in. He was just trying to speak same sanity in a situation that has clearly got out of hand over the past few years, with many players changing their international allegiance without batting an eyelid.

(MORE: Wilshere watch, it’s becoming an international break tradition in England)

Let’s cut this guy some slack, he’s had a rough week and people are jumping down his throat at every opportunity. Following the ‘smoking incident’ Wilshere’s commitment is being called into question, but many are forgetting that he’s one of England’s finest talents and he should be protected, not lambasted for being outspoken and doing a few things wrong here and there. Okay, a few days after being caught smoking was probably not the best time to be having interviews… But aren’t people always yearning to have more colorful characters and opinionated individuals in soccer?

And just to prove Wilshere isn’t harboring any strong feelings against United’s Januzaj, which is ridiculous to suggest in the first place, the midfield fire-cracker Tweeting the following on Wednesday. Get over bashing WIlshere, and let his feet do the talking.

  1. medic0nduty - Oct 9, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    “I’m sure most of you agree with me even if some journalist[s] are trying to make me look bad… again!”

    Voices his opinion on potentially sensitive issue, gets mad when people don’t agree with him. Ever heard that saying about a man in a glass house, Jack?

    Not to mention that he can’t even spell Adnan Januzaj’s name correctly.

  2. bostonredsoccer - Oct 9, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    Which brings up the difficult question, “What makes you English?”

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