Wilshere praises ‘honest’ Emery despite Arsenal exit

Matt Stead

Jack Wilshere has praised Arsenal manager Unai Emery for his “honesty”.

Wilshere left Arsenal after 427 years with his boyhood club, joining West Ham on a free transfer this summer.

The midfielder chose to leave the Emirates Stadium after discussions with new manager Emery, who informed him he could not be guaranteed a regular starting spot.

Wilshere decided to leave in the hope of rekindling his England career, but holds no grudge against the man who forced his hand.

“I have nothing but respect for [Emery],” he told the Daily Mirror.

“He was honest with me and I am sure it would have been a very difficult conversation to have with me as he had only been in the job for a week.

“We had a meeting and he told me that I was not going to play as much as I wanted.

“So that was difficult for him and I thank him for that. He could have said: ‘Yes you are going to play’,

“I’d have signed a contract and stayed and in a year’s time they’d have had to sell me. So he was really honest with me and I thank him for that.

“It was a decision based purely on football. The contract was still there. After my conversation with the new manager, he made it clear I could still stay.

“But I felt it was the right time. I knew they were going to bring players in. A new manager, I do not really know him. It was different if Arsene was there.

“The year before when Arsene said to me that I could leave, I knew Arsene and I knew he had trust in me and I knew he would play me if I performed well in training. And he did. This year was different, it was the right time.

“I do care. I still have respect for Arsenal and love for the club.

“I hope they do well and start challenging again where they belong. They didn’t need too many signings as going forward they were always dangerous last season.

“They have great players going forward, they can always create opportunities. It was not the defence. But defensively as a team we weren’t great. We had to tighten up as team.

“They have brought in a centre half and a midfielder which are a good additions. Everyone needs a strong squad and if you look at City and United they have a great squad. So if you want to be challenging you need those players.”