By Chris Harris

Jack Wilshere can avoid the traps of the old English culture, according to Arsène Wenger.

When the Frenchman arrived in north London in 1996, drinking was a popular pastime within Premier League squads. The introduction of better diets and advanced training methods have changed that but, as you'd expect with wealthy young men, there is still temptation.

The media coverage of football and footballers amplifies everything - on and off the pitch - but Wenger believes that Wilshere can avoid the excesses of some of his predecessors in the English game.

"The future will decide that," said the manager. "One of the things you need to handle in England is the media projection, the fame, money. Everything excessively in an excessive way.

"If you make a mistake in your off-the-field life it's in excess in the papers. If you play well it's in excess in the papers. If you don't play well it's in excess as well so you have to be able to handle the passion of English football.

"He looks to have his feet on the ground and still lives with his family who will help him to deal with that. It's not easy and I'm not sure that I would be able to handle that at 19. Until now Jack has and I'm confident he will have a great career."

Wilshere was just four years old when Wenger took over at Arsenal. And according to the manager, English culture has changed a great deal since the mid-1990s.

"When I arrived here in October 1996 you would look around at the players during breakfast and you look around today and it has completely changed. The drinking culture still exists for some people when they are young but in France that exists also," he said.

"You can open any paper today and you will see a different diet in there and that has an influence on people.

"The whole culture has changed in England. People are more health conscious now. People like Lee Dixon and Steve Bould could see with the influx of foreign players that things should change. Every year gained was vital for them."

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26 Feb 2011