Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has drawn his manager’s wrath after he was photographed smoking in public.
A photograph of the Arsenal star puffing on a cigarette outside a London nightclub on Wednesday emerged, leaving club chiefs furious.
The squad were given two days off and permitted a team-bonding night following their 2-0 Champions League win over Napoli on Tuesday.
Wenger, who is not given to criticising his players publicly, could not hide his frustration. ‘I disagree completely with that behaviour,’ said the Frenchman, whose side face West Bromwich Albion.
‘First of all, when you are a footballer you are an example, and second, you don’t do what damages your health.
‘You can damage your health at home. You can drink at home but nobody sees it, but when you do it in public, you damage your reputation as well.
‘What will I say to him? I will leave that between him and me.’
The club’s hierarchy are also frustrated that they were not made aware the picture would be published, despite the fact Wilshere and his representatives knew it was about to appear in the public domain.
A spokesman for Wilshere said: ‘Jack was with friends and team-mates. One dared Jack, who does not smoke, to hold the cigarette momentarily as part of a prank.’
But one of the pictures shows Wilshere with the cigarette in his mouth and he has been given a dressing down by Wenger.
The England midfielder responded to the criticism by tweeting a picture of France legend Zinedine Zidane smoking a cigarette before insisting he himself does not smoke. The controversy will not help Wilshere regain his Arsenal place after he was dropped for Tuesday’s win over Napoli.