ARSENE WENGER believes Jack Wilshere is fully focused on the job in hand as the Arsenal youngster prepares to let his football grab the headlines again ahead of today’s visit of Bolton.
England U21s coach Stuart Pearce felt the 18-year-old had “taken his eye off the ball” following his arrest and subsequent bail in the wake of a late-night fracas in Kensington, which resulted in Wilshere being left on the bench for the European Championship qualifier in Portugal.
However, the young Gunner helped galvanise England when introduced as a second-half substitute against Lithuania in Colchester on Tuesday afternoon, as the Young Lions booked their place in the play-offs with a 3-0 victory.
Wilshere spent a spell on loan at Bolton last season, and is now very much in Wenger’s plans.
“I have spoken to him since his arrest and he is focused,” said the Gunners boss.
“I believe he is always focused. When he is on the football pitch, he wants the ball and wants to play.
“It could have been a concern of Pearce, but I believe Jack is a happy boy on the football pitch.”
Arsenal are currently second in the table, having beaten Blackburn before the international break. However, the Gunners resume without Robin van Persie, injured at Ewood Park, Theo Walcott – sidelined for six weeks after damaging his ankle while away with England – and Thomas Vermaelen, who picked up an achilles problem playing for Belgium.
Wenger admits there is little a Premier League manager can do, but keep their fingers crossed and pray for their jet-setting squad to return unscathed.
“It is frustrating, but we have to deal with it,” said the Arsenal boss, who will have France winger Samir Nasri available following successful knee surgery.
“Statistically you know when there is an international break, if you get everybody back without injury it is a little miracle.
“Sometimes players go on different pitches in smaller countries with a different way of training, but we know now it is part of being a big club.
“When people play international games, you do not always get them back.”
Meanwhile, Bolton midfielder Stuart Holden has revealed the identity of his own personal match-day analyst – mum Moira.
She records every game at home in Houston, Texas then gives her son a rating over the phone on his performance.
Today Holden 25, will get the information first hand as his mum will be in the stand when Bolton face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
Holden said: “There is a lot of Premier League coverage in America and my mum records every game.
“She gives me her take after every match on how I have played. I take bits of it on board! She is an avid football fan and obviously an avid fan of her three children.
“It is fantastic she is actually is coming over for the Arsenal game. Hopefully we will get a victory.”
While Holden admires Arsenal’s style he believes Bolton can continue their good start to the campaign.
“They are team of internationals, a team that likes to pass the ball, a team that likes to attack but we have got to focus on ourselves,” he said.
“If we go about it in the way the manager wants us to we can give them a good game. We are not going there to lie down and take a beating.
“We have a number of experienced players who have played in big games so I do not think we will be daunted by taking on Arsenal.”
Manager Owen Coyle will hand a first league start to Hungarian goalkeeper Adam Bogdan as Jussi Jaaskelainen is suspended.
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