Arsenal's Jack Wilshere Has Full Backing of England Boss Roy Hodgson

Alex LivieFeatured ColumnistOctober 6, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 06:  Simion Bulgaru of Moldova (L) challenges Jack Wilshere of England during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifying Group H match between England and Moldova at Wembley Stadium on September 6, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

England manager Roy Hodgson insisted this weekend that he has no concerns about Arsenal's Jack Wilshere, who made headlines last week when pictured smoking outside a nightclub.

Wilshere has long been viewed as the future of England’s midfield, but he has had to contend with injury problems.

He returned to fitness this season but is facing a new battle in the form of an Arsenal midfield dripping with talent.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger signed Mesut Ozil and Mathieu Flamini in the summer transfer window, while Aaron Ramsey has made a superb start to the season.

Wilshere is now under pressure to earn a place in the Arsenal side, while he also received a ticking off from Wenger over his smoking.

Per Sami Mokbel’s piece in the Mail, Wenger said:

I disagree completely with that behaviour.

First of all, when you are a footballer you are an example, and second, you don’t do what damages your health. 

You can damage your health at home. You can drink at home but nobody sees it, but when you do it in public, you damage your reputation as well.  

What will I say to him?  I will leave that between him and me.

Wilshere appeared to hit back at the critics by posting a picture of Zinedine Zidane, regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, with a cigarette in his mouth.

— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) October 4, 2013

All the furore has put Wilshere’s England role in the spotlight, but he has the backing of Hodgson.

In a piece Sunday on Sky Sports, Hodgson said: 

He's in an Arsenal team at the moment where the competition for places in midfield is very strong and will be even stronger when (Santi) Cazorla gets fit.

But he's an important cog in our midfield thinking. I don't have any concerns for him.

I believe in him, I think he's a very good player, and I'm hoping that he'll turn up on Monday fully fit to play and then it'll be up to me to decide whether I want to put him in the starting line-up.

Hodgson also insisted he would not step into the smoking debate, saying he is confident Wenger will deal with it.