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Wilshere back early after smoking furore

ESPN staff
July 18, 2014 « Rodgers ready to break £100m in spending spree | Rashid's burst takes Yorkshire top »
Arsenal's World Cup contingent are not expected back at pre-season training until Sunday © Getty Images
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Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere made an early start to his pre-season preparations after he returned to training three days before most of his team-mates.

Wilshere's return comes days after photographs of him with a cigarette in his mouth while on holiday in Las Vegas were published by the Daily Mail - and were said to have earned him a reprimand from manager Arsene Wenger.

The 22 year old posted a picture to his Instagram account which showed him in his training kit alongside Theo Walcott, who is continuing his recovery from a serious knee injury.

Arsenal's World Cup contingent are not expected back until Sunday but Wilshere, who suffered a largely disappointing group-stage exit with England, made the decision to come back three days early.

It is not the first time Wilshere has earned unwanted attention - and Wenger's disapproval - for smoking. Last October, Wilshere was caught smoking outside a London nightclub and later apologised.

While Wilshere returned early determined to prove his worth, Walcott has been busy recovering from the knee injury he suffered against Tottenham last January.

The winger, who recently spoke excitedly of new signing Alexis Sanchez, does not have a date in mind for his comeback but insists his knee is "pretty much healed."

Walcott said: "The knee is going really well. I am doing some good stuff with the physios and fitness coaches and we have worked really hard throughout the summer.

"Things are looking really good and I have worked very hard for the last five months now.

"The most important thing is getting the strength back and it has pretty much healed - it is just about building up that stability and strength again. It is coming along nicely and I am really pleased."

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