Football Expert & Columnist
Jack Wilshere: Jamie Redknapp praises Arsenal man's character
Jack Wilshere responded from a poor first half to play a vital role at West Brom, says Jamie Redknapp.
Last Updated: 07/10/13 10:24am
Sky Sports pundit Redknapp felt the England man was lax with the ball and not strong enough in the tackle during the opening period of Sunday's Premier League clash at The Hawthorns, from which the Baggies emerged with a 1-0 lead.
But he says Wilshere - who created headlines in the week when he was pictured smoking a cigarette - upped his level in the second 45 minutes and was rewarded when he smashed home Arsenal's equaliser from a Tomas Rosicky pass.
And Redknapp reckons the 21-year-old - whose side remain top of the Premier League courtesy of scoring more goals than second-placed Liverpool - must now play in a more central area for the Gunners, as opposed to in the wide berth he has been filling.
"I have been Wilshere's biggest fan but the way he played first half was not up to the standards he has set over the years," said the former Tottenham engine-roomer.
"He was caught in possession, kept giving the ball away and never won his 50/50 challenges.
"So Arsene Wenger deserves credit for not taking him off but Jack deserves it as well for reacting, as all good players do.
"He didn't hide, got in a position to score a goal and played the pass of the match to Olivier Giroud.
"He was much more effective in the middle as wide left doesn't suit him because he doesn't have the pace of a Theo Walcott.
"But with Santi Cazorla coming back and Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini forming that defensive two, you wonder where Wenger will fit everyone in."
Redknapp's fellow analyst Jamie Carragher was impressed by two of West Brom's midfield stars, Youssouf Mulumbu and Claudio Yacob, saluting the way they diminished the threat of Arsenal's in-form record signing Mesut Ozil.
"Mulumbu and Yacob stifling teams was a feature of their play last season and they did that to Arsenal today [Sunday]," said Carragher, whose views on Chelsea's 3-1 victory at Norwich you can read by clicking this link.
"They haven't got the quality of Arsenal's old pairing of Emanuel Petit and Patrick Vieira, but they are very organised, always very close together and gave Arsenal no space, which is why Ozil had to drop deeper and deeper.
"They were both involved in West Brom's goal, too, with Mulumbu helping set it up and Yacob heading it in, and it was very close between the pair of them for Man of the Match."