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Arsenal legend urges Jack Wilshere to remember defensive duties



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Former Arsenal legend Emmanuel Petit believes Jack Wilshere needs to improve the defensive side of his game.

Wilshere has played in Arsenal’s last five matches as he bids to re-establish himself at the Emirates Stadium after spending last season on loan at Bournemouth.

The 26-year-old has struggled with injuries in recent years and Petit told Paddy Power that he has more work to do if he is to secure his long-term future at Arsenal.

“He has the requisite quality and technical skill, as well as the vision and aggression, to play in central midfield for Arsenal,” he said.

“He’s capable of more than what he’s showing and what he has shown in the past. But I’m not entirely sure about the partnership between him and Granit Xhaka.

“There’s no doubt Wilshere can be an excellent player – as can Xhaka.

“But he is always focused on going forward, scoring goals, and making passes for his teammates.

“The balance is not quite right with Arsenal, and hasn’t been for quite some time. For me, the missing link is an extra holding midfielder.”

Wilshere’s return to action has been a welcome boost to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, especially with doubts over the futures of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.

The club has been linked with the likes of Jean Michael Seri and Steven N’Zonzi in recent weeks, and Petit believes Wenger must prioritise strengthening his central midfield options.

“If you have two men in that role, they can both play box-to-box, be aggressive and try to win all the second balls – your backline is secured,” he added.

“Sometimes it seems as if Wilshere considers Xhaka the sole holding midfielder, and that he is personally responsible only for the transition and to act as a playmaker.

“But you also have Ozil and Sanchez in the team, so Jack must improve physically and think more about his defensive responsibilities.”