MX23RW : Sunday, January 20 01:19:42

Manuel Pellegrini: 'Jack Wilshere has same traits as Andrea Pirlo'

Pellegrini compares Wilshere to Pirlo
© Reuters
West Ham United boss Manuel Pellegrini believes that Jack Wilshere is similar to Andrea Pirlo as the Hammers midfielder prepares for his return to Arsenal.

West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini has compared Jack Wilshere to Italy legend Andrea Pirlo as the Hammers midfielder prepares for his return to Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.

Wilshere ended his 17-year association with the Gunners in the summer in order to link up with West Ham, with the two London rivals set to clash in the Premier League this weekend.

Pellegrini's praise comes as Unai Emery, the Arsenal head coach, said that Wilshere left the club in order to become the "protagonist" of West Ham's new era at the London Stadium.

Former West Ham boss Sam Allardyce, meanwhile, claimed that Wilshere and Mark Noble are too slow to play together in midfield following consecutive defeats by Liverpool and Bournemouth.

"If you need fast players they cannot do it," Pellegrini is quoted by The Telegraph as saying. "But if you need good technical players that do not lose any balls, then they can play together.

"A lot of you will remember Juventus around four or five years ago, they played with one holding midfielder. It was Pirlo. And Pirlo is the same as Jack. He has the same characteristics as Jack.

"I think that Jack Wilshere must play as Jack Wilshere. He is not a defensive midfielder to hold the line. He is a midfielder more comfortable when he comes out from our side and not receiving the ball back from the other goal. You must leave him to play alone, to receive the ball because he is going to make things happen."

Both Arsenal and West Ham go into Saturday's game in North London having suffered back-to-back defeats in the top flight.


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