“I just want to say that I mistimed the challenge on Zigic and accept that I deserved to be sent off, I have no complaints about getting the red card and I will learn from this. I’m missing three matches now which I’m really disappointed about, but I just want to say that I deserved the red card.” - Jack Wilshere.
England starlet Jack Wilshere has turned into the villain of the piece in Arsenal's 2-1 win over Birmingham today following his shocking challenge on Nikola Zigic that earned him a red card in the dying moments of the Premier League encounter.
There are a number of angles to this dismissal with most media outlets pointing to the embarrassment caused to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
"The Professor" has been on a crusade for some time about poor tackles (last season Aaron Ramsey's injury at Stoke saw Ryan Shawcross vilified) and Wenger wrote in the programme for today's game: "Managers have an important part to play, we are all responsible for the behaviour of our players."
After Arsenal's victory, Wenger added: "But it was his first tackle in the game and you have to acknowledge that he got a red card and he deserved it but he didn't spend the whole game kicking people. He was one of the best players on the pitch, unfortunately it happened to him but I think it was more frustration. He didn't want to harm the player. We do not complain about his red card but you cannot say he had a dirty game."
The Wilshere sending off, aside from blighting another fine performance from the England starlet, also opened up an old debate, since the Gunners played Birmingham today.
Alex McLeish fairly pointed out post-match: "It was a bad tackle but we know Jack Wilshere is not a dirty player. For me, that should draw a line under the Martin Taylor tackle on Eduardo a couple of years ago because for weeks we bleated on that Taylor was innocent and he was not a nasty player and it's the same as Jack Wilshere."
Jack Wilshere's shocking tackle on Nikola Zigic is on the video below.
Related links: Arsenal 2 - Birmingham 1 highlights.