Backpage roundup: Wilshere in Arsenal squad, Wenger’s ‘Moment Of Truth,’ Ayew happy at Marseille and more

Wilshere Back in Arsenal Squad

Jack Wilshere has been included in Arsenal’s 18-man squad for Saturday’s away game against Norwich City, according to his agent.

While coach Arsene Wenger had told the press on Friday morning that Wilshere would play another under-21 to build up his fitness, the player’s agent Simon Bayliff revealed a few hours later that his client is already back in the first-team fold.

It’s been two “good news” days in a row. Doesn’t happen very often. Jack travels to Norwich in the #AFC 1st team squad! Delighted,” Bayliff tweeted.

The claim, however, hasn’t been verified by the club yet.

 

Insulting Behaviours As Bad As Racism – Wenger

Arsene Wenger believes that the insult-hurling culture in English football is actually a kind of racism and it should also be fought with great vengeance.

Racism is currently the hot topic in British football due to a series of high-profile cases in the recent past. But the Arsenal boss says abusive and insulting behaviour are also as significant a problem as racism is, and proper measures should be taken to eliminate it.

Wenger, who faces nasty chanting by opposing fans on a regular basis in the Premiership, said: “Against stupidity the best way is information, knowledge of things and examples of behaviour, of attitudes. That is much more efficient than punishment, but you have to do both because some behaviours cannot be tolerated. It is not only racism, black and white, it is against all kinds of insults we still have in the stadiums.

“We must fight more against it. You look at some faces when you walk around the pitch, what they shout at you is scary. That is, for me, racism. You are insulted because you are not in their clan. That is a kind of discrimination. There is still a lot to do, but I think it’s good that society fights against it. I am thinking that it is getting better, but it is never won.”

 

Hodgson to Be Cautious With Wilshere

While Jack Wilshere is purportedly on the cusp of making his first-team return for Arsenal, his England coach Roy Hodgson has said that a Three Lions comeback for the midfielder will have to wait.

The 20-year-old starlet only recently returned to the playing field following 14 months on the sidelines and Hodgson has made it clear that he won’t rush him back at international level.

In an interview which was taken before the news of Wilshere’s selection for the Norwich game broke, Hodgson said: “The thing we’ve got to realise about Jack, as Arsene mentioned, is that he’s been out of football for a long time. He’s a wonderful talent and of course it would be terrific if he could reproduce that form when he becomes involved again. But I’m also keen to play down the expectations. When you’ve been out for well over a year, to come back and play like he was before might take a little bit of time.”

 

Wenger: The ‘Moment Of Truth’ Has Arrived

Arsene Wenger has described Arsenal’s upcoming run of seemingly easy games as the ‘moment of truth’ for his side.

The Gunners’ next two league games are against Norwich and QPR, while there is also a Champions League meeting with Schalke at home in between those two games. Wenger’s men have begun the new season in fine form but he says that maximum points need to be taken from the next three fixtures in order to build upon that fine start.

In a recent interview with Arsenal Player, Wenger said: “In October the moment of truth starts for the team. The league establishes itself a little bit and the Champions League goes to decisive moments. Therefore of course, it’s important to be decisive and convincing.

“The target is always the same [after an international break]. When they come back, we want to quickly focus on our own targets again and get the team back mentally on our next game. I believe that we’ll work and the team, after our last performance at West Ham (a 3-1 win), will want to continue the good run and focus well.”

 

Arsenal Target Happy at Marseille

Marseille forward Andre Ayew has said that he doesn’t know anything about any other club’s interest in his services and has no reason to leave the club.

The 22-year-old Ghanaian, who has been linked with a winter move to Arsenal, recently told OM.net: I was not aware of Labrune’s words. I am feeling very well at Marseille. If the club has decisions to make and want to sell, we will have to get together and discuss the matter. However, I repeat that I am happy here. I’m on my way back and I am completely focused on doing well with Marseille.”