Wilshere Smoking Is No Big Deal


Jack Wilshere has been caught smoking, but is that such a big deal? Stuart Smith questions whether his smoking will affect his game, and whether he is posing a negative influence as a role model for younger kids.

Jack Wilshere is arguably the most exciting prospect English football has had in a long time and, as a result, is constantly in the public eye. Like many 21 year olds Wilshere enjoys clubbing, drinking and, in some cases, a cigarette from time to time.

Unlike the majority of 21 year olds, however, he is berated in the press for his actions, being told he has to be a role model to the young kids who look up to him.

We are at a point in time where we recognise the ill-effects of smoking and starting to smoke is heavily discouraged, but whilst it’s still legal I feel the hounding Wilshere has received from media sources is appalling.

Smoking the occasional cigarette does no harm to a footballer’s performance (as actively displayed by French footballing legend Zinedine Zidane, and England’s fifth-highest ever goalscorer, Wayne Rooney) so on this basis he cannot be reprimanded, but the issue surrounding whether he should be setting an example for the nation’s young is more contentious.

Though footballers in general are arguably the least suitable role models, you cannot choose who kids look up to and understandably the glitz and glamour of the life of an international footballer is appealing, so it seems inevitable that kids will see players like Wilshere as someone to imitate and emulate.

With the adoration of young football fans comes a responsibility to behave in an exemplary manner and being pictured with a cigarette is not doing so. He is still young though, still being moulded, and the apology he offered displayed a level of maturity that suggests he can be what everyone expects him to be both on and off the pitch.

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