Jack Wilshere reveals what Samir Nasri said to him after his masterclass in Arsenal’s win over Barcelona

Jack Wilshere and Samir Nasri celebrating during Arsenal match
Jack Wilshere and Samir Nasri both starred in Arsenal’s win over Barcelona (Picture: Getty)

Jack Wilshere has revealed how Samir Nasri told him he should aim to stay at the same level ‘week in, week out’ after his unforgettable midfield masterclass in Arsenal’s 2-1 victory over Barcelona back in 2011.

The then 19-year-old produced a sublime individual performance versus Barcelona’s iconic midfield three of Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Sergio Busquets as a pair of late goals from Robin van Persie and Andrey Arshavin sealed a narrow win for the Gunners at the Emirates.

Lionel Messi struck twice against ten-man Arsenal at the Nou Camp to book Barca’s place in the Champions League quarter-finals and Pep Guardiola’s side went on to beat Manchester United at Wembley to get their hands on the trophy.

Xavi and Jack Wilshere fight for the ball in Arsenal's Champions League win over Barcelona in 2011
Wilshere was named man of the match after his performance at the Emirates (Picture: Getty)

Injury problems have largely defined Wilshere’s career in the years that have followed and the England international completed a move across London to West Ham ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.

Reflecting on his showing against the Catalan giants nine years ago, Wilshere told Arsenal’s ‘In Lockdown’ podcast: ‘To be honest, I didn’t even think I was [playing that well]

‘I thought I was doing alright. When we got to half-time, I had done a few good things in the first half but I felt like they had dominated.

‘They had a way of making you feel like you were running around in circles for no reason. They used to make these little passes in midfield and you didn’t know whether to press or to hold back and wait for them.

Lionel Messi is tackled by Jack Wilshere in Barcelona's defeat to Arsenal
The Gunners came back to beat Barcelona at the Emirates before losing the second leg (Picture: Getty)

‘It wasn’t until after the game actually [that I realised how well I’d played]. It was Paul Akers, the kit man, who was like, “You just had Xavi and Iniesta in your pocket”. I said, “no chance” and he was like, “I’m telling you”. Then I got man of the match.
‘It’s difficult when you’re in a game to know how well you played and what people are thinking of games.
‘It wasn’t until a couple of times in the game where I had beaten a midfielder where I thought, “Okay, right, if I can beat that first man you get a little bit of time to get your head up and make a forward pass”. I remember thinking, “Right, just beat the first press and you’ll be alright”.’

A few days after the clash, Nasri told his young team-mate he should strive to play to the same standard on a more consistent basis for Arsenal.

Wilshere added: ‘Over the next few days I remember Nasri saying to me after the game, “You need to stay at this level now, you’ve just gone up a couple of levels, this needs to be your level, week in, week out”.

‘It’s alright everyone else saying it, but when it comes from your team-mates, the people who see you every day, it meant more.’

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