Gluten-free Gunner: Jack Wilshere puts his Arsenal revival down to new diet
Midfielder has forced his way back into side after series of injuries, and admits he feels fitter, sharper and quicker having cut out gluten and dairy
Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere says a new gluten-free diet has put him in the best shape of his career after re-establishing himself in Arsene Wenger’s first team.
Wilshere, 26, starred in a 2-2 draw at home to Chelsea in midweek, opening the scoring with a thumping close-range finish.
It was not enough to earn Arsenal victory, with Eden Hazard’s penalty and a late goal from Marcos Alonso putting Chelsea in front, before Hector Bellerin added a final twist in stoppage time.
The match was Wilshere’s sixth consecutive 90 minutes in the Premier League after a nightmare few years blighted by injury.
“I have been dairy and gluten-free now for six weeks,” Wilshere told the London Evening Standard.
“I feel that I look better, I have certainly lost a bit of weight, and am leaner. I am probably fitter as well. I feel sharper and quicker on the pitch. I feel like I can last longer.
“For example, at the end of the Chelsea game when we scored the second goal, I felt, ‘Come on, we can go on again here’. I was pressing them and felt good.
“I know my body well, I know the right foods to eat and the best way to recover. I’m also getting the right amount of sleep. I’ve learned that over the years and I think I’m in the best shape I have ever been.”
Wilshere, benefiting from an injury to midfielder Aaron Ramsey, told Sky Sports after the match there had been “no progress” in talks regarding an extension to his contract, which expires at the end of the season.
England manager Gareth Southgate has challenged Wilshere to play regularly for Arsenal before thinking about an international recall.
He last played for the national side in the defeat to Iceland at Euro 2016.
Meanwhile, the Football Association has asked Wenger to clarify remarks about penalties given against Arsenal made before and after the game with Chelsea.
Wenger complained about two spot-kick decisions given against his side, the first awarded to West Brom on Sunday and the second given to Chelsea.
Both matches ended as draws and Wenger now has until Tuesday to respond.
Wenger has said he intends to appeal a separate FA charge relating to his behaviour after last weekend’s 1-1 draw with West Brom, when Arsenal defender Calum Chambers was penalised by Mike Dean for a handball.
Arsenal conceded another late penalty against Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium, as Hazard went down following a challenge from Hector Bellerin.
Wenger said before the game against Chelsea: “I must say what is more frustrating for me is that it happened many times this season – at Stoke, at Watford, at Manchester City, at West Brom. That is a concerning coincidence for me.”
On Dean’s decision to penalise Chambers, Wenger added: “He saw what he wanted to see and we have to deal with that.”
After the draw against Chelsea, Wenger said: “When opinions always go the same way it’s coincidence. Statistically it’s built on the fact that when it’s repeated it’s not coincidence.”