English Premiership

Pellegrini: Wilshere is similar to Pirlo

Manuel Pellegrini and Jack Wilshere (Getty Images)
Manuel Pellegrini and Jack Wilshere (Getty Images)

Cape Town - West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini says that Jack Wilshere has some of the same characteristics that made Andrea Pirlo a world-class player.

The 26-year-old England international joined the Irons ahead of the 2018/19 Premier League season after coming the end to his contract at Arsenal.

Pellegrini previously explained that he was unsure as to why the Gunners were willing to let the former Luton Town youth leave, and has now compared him to one of the most talented midfielders of the modern game.

The Hammers face Unai Emery's Arsenal at the Emirates on Saturday, and ahead of the game, Pellegrini has given Wilshere a massive boost.

"A lot of you will remember Juventus around four or five years ago, they played with one holding midfielder," said Pellegrini.

"It was Pirlo. And Pirlo is the same as Jack. He has the same characteristics as Jack."

Pellegrini was also asked to respond to claims from Sam Allardyce that the likes of Wilshere and Mark Noble are too slow.

"That is his opinion. I know him and I respect him, and everyone has his opinion," the West Ham manager added: 

"I think that Jack Wilshere must play as Jack Wilshere. He is not a defensive midfielder to hold the line.

"He is a midfielder more comfortable when he comes out from our side and not receiving the ball back from the other goal.

"You must leave him to play alone, the play the moment, to receive the ball because he is going to make things happen."

Pellegrini concluded: "He just has to recover his trust in what he can do. Maybe his career was not all his top (form), because he had a lot of injuries.

"So I think at this moment we must give him trust, let him play, because I repeat what I said: he is a different player and he will do it."

Kick-off is at 16:00 (SA time).