Arsene Wenger has dismissed Roy Keane’s criticism of Jack Wilshere following the midfielder’s disappointing performance in the Gunners’ 2-1 loss to Ostersunds on Wednesday.

Wilshere was taken off in the second half during the Europa League round-of-32 second leg defeat, as Wenger’s side progressed into the last 16 4-2 on aggregate despite losing on the night at the Emirates.

Former Manchester United and Republic of Ireland captain Keane, speaking to ITV, described Wilshere as “probably the most overrated player on the planet” following the game.

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Wenger accepts Wilshere – who is yet to extend his contract which expires this summer – delivered a poor performance in the defeat, but defended the 26-year-old ahead of Arsenal’s Carabao Cup final against Manchester City on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Football.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is waiting to see if midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil will be fit to play in the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City

He said: “It’s very difficult to hear. I rate Wilshere very highly. You can have opinions. Jack was in the team last night but did not perform particularly well.

“It was certainly not one of his best performances. Roy Keane knows that it can happen to anybody.”

Wenger also gave his verdict on Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne. The Arsenal boss believes the Belgian has developed into the complete modern midfielder under Pep Guardiola this season.

He said: “He has developed exceptionally well. He is one of Manchester City’s biggest strengths, of course. He has become a very complete player, he is the modern midfielder for me.

“He is decisive in the final third and he works hard. He is left-footed, right-footed and he is a fighter as well. Overall I am not surprised [how good he has been].”

A win on Sunday would mean Wenger has won every domestic trophy during his Arsenal tenure, an achievement he feels has become increasingly difficult in recent seasons.

“Yes of course [I have thought about completing the set],” he said.

“What counts for me is that we go into the final with absolute desire on winning and performing on the day. Everyone expects a very exciting game and I feel it will be. It’s a good opportunity to show that we are at [Man City’s] level.

“Every trophy is now difficult to win because there are so many teams ready to compete. Anything you can win is vitally important. Even the [Community] Shield against Chelsea was important.”



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