Jack Wilshere believes people often forget the fact that he is only 21 when they scrutinise his performances for club and country.

The England international broke into the Arsenal first team five years ago and has established himself as one of the best midfielders in the Premier League.

Wilshere has also found himself under the glare of the media spotlight and says that is just part and parcel of growing up in the modern game.

“Yes, I do think [people forget my age],” he told Arsenal.com. “Not just because I've been around for a long time, but people hear I've got two kids and it's not often you hear about a 21-year-old with two kids.

People hear I've got two kids and it's not often you hear about a 21-year-old with two kids

Jack Wilshere

“I've been in the first team since I was 16 so that's five years and that's quite a long time in football terms.

“I made my debut when I was 16 and the aim was to play for England and it came pretty quickly - when I was 18. Then the main thing after that was to keep my place in the Arsenal team week in, week out and I did during that season.

“I then had a frustrating year with injury and it's tough when you're out injured, you've got to come back. People think that when you're out injured you don't do a lot of work but you do, trust me.

“It's tough but last season I got back into the team, got fit again and had 30-odd games which was nice, and this year I've stayed fit so far and that's the aim for the rest of season.

“I play week in, week out against 31 and 32-year-olds so I think you just have to take that [close scrutiny].

“People are always going to criticise you and judge your performances all the time. They are paid to do that, so you have to concentrate on your own game.”

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source Rob Kelly 13 Nov 2013