Jack Wilshere names ‘unreal’ Moussa Dembele as his toughest ever Premier League opponent

Jack Wilshere competes for the ball with Moussa Dembele during Arsenal's Premier League clash with Tottenham
Jack Wilshere had plenty of encounters with Moussa Dembele during Arsenal’s clashes with Spurs (Picture: Getty)

Jack Wilshere has picked out Moussa Dembele as the best player he ever faced in the Premier League and admits he ‘always hated’ coming up against the Belgian during Arsenal’s clashes with bitter rivals Tottenham.

Both Wilshere and Dembele have since departed north London to join West Ham and Guangzhou R&F respectively but the two midfielders are remembered fondly by Arsenal and Spurs supporters.

The pair had numerous heated battles in derbies gone by and Dembele, known for his combative nature and occasional hotheadedness, even tried to headbutt Wilshere during Tottenham’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal back in January 2014.

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However, Wilshere clearly harbours no hard feelings towards Dembele and hailed the ‘unreal’ Belgium international during a candid Q&A session with his Instagram followers on Saturday evening.

Asked to name his toughest ever opponent in the English top flight, Wilshere replied: ‘I always hated playing against Dembele from Tottenham.

‘Obviously it was a derby and he was always up for the game and made it difficult.

‘He was strong, you couldn’t get the ball off him and his dribbling was unreal.’

Bacary Sagna, Jack Wilshere and Cesc Fabregas stretching during an Arsenal training session
Wilshere named Fabregas as one of his best ever team-mates (Picture: Getty)

On his best ever team-mate, Wilshere answered: ‘It’s tough, I played with some good players.

‘Probably Cesc [Fabregas] or Wazza [Wayne Rooney].’

Elsewhere in the Q&A, Wilshere reserved special praise for Arsene Wenger for allowing him to express himself and play with ‘freedom’ in his early days at Arsenal.

‘He gave me freedom,’ the West Ham midfielder explained.

‘He let me play how I wanted to play.

‘Obviously there was some tactical stuff but in terms of me on the ball… he told me to express myself and just play.’

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