‘Barcleona have many players like Jack Wilshere’

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola claims midfielder Jack Wilshere is 'lucky' to be a first-team regular at Arsenal

Martin Caparrotta
By Martin Caparrotta
pep guardiola
Pep Guardiola claims Arsène Wenger is not under pressure to win titles Photo: The Sport Review

pep guardiola

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LAST-16 SECOND-LEG, 8 MARCH 2011, CAMP NOU, 7.45pm
team1
Barcelona
v
team2
Arsenal

Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola claims his club’s reserve team is full of players like Jack Wilshere and insists the 19-year-old midfielder is “lucky” to be playing regularly for Arsenal.

Guardiola believes Wilshere has only become a first-team regular for Arsène Wenger’s men because the Arsenal boss is not under pressure to win trophies at the north London club.

When asked about Wilshere, the Barça coach said: “Wilshere is a top player. He is an excellent player, not just Arsenal, but also for the national team.

“[But] he is lucky because we have many players in the second team like him but he plays because there is no pressure at his club to win titles.”

However, Arsenal boss Wenger insists Wilshere’s increasingly regular role for the Gunners has developed purely because of his talent. “I just play Jack Wilshere because he is good enough to play and because he deserves his place,” said Wenger.

“I’m long enough in the job to know when a player deserves to play. It’s nothing do with what I have to deliver or whether I’m under pressure.”

Striker Robin van Persie was a shock last-minute inclusion in the Arsenal squad that travelled to Spain and Guardiola claims he wants to face a full-strength Gunners side in Tuesday night’s showdown at Camp Nou.

“Maybe there could be a private flight for [Theo] Walcott to come in at the last minute – you never know,” he joked.

“I want all the great players to play, everyone against everyone and see a great show tomorrow. I hope they are all in the team – Van Persie, [Samir] Nasri, Cesc [Fábregas]. I want [Alex] Song to play, because I would like to play the best possible Arsenal. If Van Persie plays, then no problem.

“Arsenal have many alternatives, are very dynamic and can play in different positions. Their counterattack is great; we will try to prevent that. This is always a special game in the Champions League and it is a magnificent challenge.”

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