Jack Wilshere claims he is a victim of his own success and suffers negative press because people forget he is still only 21.
The Arsenal midfielder trained with England in the familiar surroundings of London Colney on Wednesday ahead of Friday’s friendly with Chile.
And Wilshere, whose progress has been hit by several injury setbacks in the last two years, sees no reason to let those who doubt him affect his own determination to succeed at the highest level.
“Yes, I do think (people forget my age). Not just because I’ve been around for a long time, but people hear I’ve got two kids and it’s not often you hear about a 21-year-old with two kids,” Wilshere told Arsenal’s official website.
“I have been in the (Arsenal) first team since I was 16, so that is five years and that is quite a long time in football terms.
“I made my debut when I was 16 and the aim was to play for England and it came pretty quickly – when I was 18.
“Then the main thing after that was to keep my place in the Arsenal team week in, week out and I did during that season.
“I then had a frustrating year with injury and it is tough when you are out injured, you have got to come back. People think that when you are out injured you don’t do a lot of work, but you do, trust me.
“It is tough, but last season I got back into the team, got fit again and had 30-odd games which was nice, and this year I have stayed fit so far and that’s the aim for the rest of season.”
“People are always going to criticise you and judge your performances all the time. They are paid to do that, so you have to concentrate on your own game.
“I play week in, week out against 31 and 32-year-olds, so I think you just have to take that (close scrutiny).”