Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny was unlucky to be 'caught smoking' but now needs to deliver on the pitch to pacify his manager, according to football pundit Ray Parlour.
It has been reported the 24-year-old has been fined £20,000 by his manager Arsene Wenger for smoking in the showers after the Premier League defeat at Southampton on New Year's Day.
The Polish keeper was not used in their following game – the FA Cup third-round win over Hull – although Wenger's policy has been to rotate his goalkeepers for cup matches. But doubts remain over Szczesny being recalled for Sunday's Premier League match at home to Stoke.
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Parlour, Arsenal midfielder between 1992-2004, told Sky Sports News HQ: "He didn’t have the best of games against Southampton. He made two mistakes and Wenger was fuming with the keeper anyway and after catching him doing that as well, he’s come down like a ton of bricks.
"I can’t believe he was smoking in the shower. Lots of players these days probably do smoke behind the scenes. Whether it’s right or wrong - that’s what managers have to deal with.
"He'll have a meeting with Wenger but he’s a very confident lad. I don’t think mistakes affect him.
"It’s all about performances. I was hoping he’d get tested against Hull in the FA Cup and that could have kept him in the side against Stoke. I think he will play again but Wenger will speak to him and hopefully he’s learned his lesson."
Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere was foced to apologise in the summer after being pictured smoking with family and friends on holiday in Las Vegas after the World Cup. Former Gunners defender and captain William Gallas was also warned by Wenger for smoking in public in 2008.
Reflecting on Wenger's disciplinary measures at his time at Arsenal, Parlour added: "He didn’t like confrontation. There wasn’t a lot fining back then. It wasn’t his style to have a go.
"I remember on a Monday after a poor performance he was trying to have a go at a few players and three or four phones went off. And he was panicking. He was fuming. He said it would be a £10,000 fine for the next phone that went off.
"Two days later we were getting prepared for the next game. We were stretching in a quiet room and a phone started ringing. It kept ringing and Wenger wanted to know whose phone it was. He got up, walked to his bag and it was in there. 'That’s £10,000 to me' he said and started laughing.
"Szczesny was just caught at the wrong time. Wenger had the hump after the Southampton defeat and Szczesny took the brunt of it. I’m pleased I never smoked - that’s a lot of money for a pack of fags!"
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