Arsene Wenger says Jack Wilshere earned the right to be captain during Arsenal’s 3-1 win over AC Milan and that the decision to give him the responsibility was not part of a plan to woo the midfielder into signing a new contract.
Wilshere took the armband from Laurent Koscielny when the Frenchman limped off after 10 minutes and put in a solid performance as the Gunners secured safe passage to the Europa League quarter-finals with a 5-1 victory on aggregate.
A week earlier, in the aftermath of the first leg, the 26-year-old revealed that he was no closer to signing a new contract at Arsenal despite the club making him an offer that, due to his injury history, includes a pay cut before appearance and achievement related add ons.
“No, not at all,” said Wenger when asked by beIN Sports if the captaincy was a way of helping to secure Wilshere’s long-term future.
“He was born at the club, he has a long history with the club, a strong link with the club. As well he’s a leader through his attitude and his tactical knowledge on the pitch.
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“Jack Wilshere has a big quality apart from his technical top qualities, he has personality and he’s in the right place on the pitch and now he has the maturity to organise around him. That’s why I played him central.
“I thought the combination of history, that he’s a long-term player at the club, the fact of his experience and knowledge now, that’s why I chose to make him captain.”