Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere could find himself at the centre of another smoking row after pictures emerged of the England international holding a shisha pipe at a nightclub.
Wilshere, 23, is currently recovering from ankle surgery after an injury in the defeat by Manchester United on November 22, and is expected to be in contention for a first-team return by the end of the month.
A picture of Wilshere, reported to be from when he attended a London nightclub during last week, was uploaded to Instagram, before being removed, but was then subsequently reposted on Twitter, sparking much debate across social media as to the player’s behaviour.
Wilshere has been criticised in the past for two high-profile incidents of being pictured with a cigarette, first outside a London nightclub in November 2013 and again last summer when at a pool party while on holiday in Las Vegas with England goalkeeper Joe Hart following the World Cup.
Hallo Mr.Jack Wilshere can't play football.he's good with cigarette :)) pic.twitter.com/tAfXVr3dvQ— Bellerfunball (@Bellerfc) July 15, 2014
Speaking in July, Wilshere said: “The smoking? Of course I regret it. I have been seen before doing it. I said then I made a mistake and I have made a mistake again. People make mistakes.
“I am young and I will learn from it. I realise the consequences it has and the effect on kids growing up.
“I have kids myself and I don’t want them growing up to think their dad smokes and it is okay for a footballer to smoke, because it’s not.
“It is unacceptable and I will accept the consequences and I will move on.”
In April 2012, Arsenal’s Morocco forward Marouane Chamakh was pictured holding a shisha pipe just hours after the defeat at QPR.
Last month, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger spoke out against footballers smoking following revelations goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny lit up in the showers after the 2-0 defeat at Southampton on New Year’s Day, since when the Pole has not started a Barclays Premier League match.
“Players here are judged on their performances. Ideally, the best way to have a high level of performance as possible is to follow the rules that allow you to perform,” Wenger said.
“Human beings are human beings, with their strengths and weaknesses. We know this is not good. Overall, these players are professional.
“Wilshere was on holiday [when he was caught smoking]. You cannot control the players on holiday.”
Arsenal were unavailable for immediate comment when contacted this evening.