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Wenger lauds Wilshere spirit after smoking scandal

ESPN staff
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Arsene Wenger lauded Jack Wilshere for his show of character after he grabbed Arsenal's equaliser in the 1-1 draw at West Brom.

Wilshere put a difficult week behind him to score the goal that took the Gunners back to the top of the Premier League - his first in the division since November 2010.

Earlier this week he had been photographed smoking outside a nightclub, for which he was criticised by Wenger, and struggled in the first 45 minutes at The Hawthorns.

Wenger said: "He had a difficult first half but he has shown he has character and he kept going. It is good he was rewarded.

"I don't think he will ever be a goalscorer. He is a player who can create chances and provide chances for others. That is as important."

But the Frenchman said he hopes Wilshere can chip in with goals, adding: "It is good he knows he can score."

Wenger believes Wilshere will learn from mistakes this week and warned his players that any off-field indiscretions will be noticed.

He said: "He is an honest guy and when he is wrong he knows it. Today the players don't get away with anything. We got away with more.

"They know that is the rules of the game and of modern society. They have to deal with it. He learns very quickly. What is more interesting for England and Arsenal is that he shows the right approach on the pitch."

Wilshere, whose deflected strike cancelled out Claudio Yacob's opener, had a below-par game by his own standards.

"He had trouble today to find the rhythm,'' Wenger said. "But he has character as well. He doesn't give up, he continues to play his game.

"I believe he was fouled a few times, pushed over and didn't get the fouls he deserved.''

Wilshere admitted he did not find it easy playing out wide.

"It was a tough game, coming here is never easy. We are happy with the point,'' he said. "It was a tough game for me. I am not used to playing on the wing, I'm still learning it, but I'm happy to do it for the team. I got a goal which was nice, I've always said I want to score more goals.''

And the midfielder was pleased to respond after being in the spotlight this week.

He added: "At the end of the day when it comes to the weekend you've got to do your job and today we've done it well.''

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