Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere was stunned by criticism from Paul Scholes, but conceded it was 'right in a certain way'.
Wilshere, 22, was so surprised by Scholes' analysis of his career - which saw the former Manchester United midfielder claim the Englishman was 'a really top young player, but he has not really gone on' in March - that he endeavoured to discuss it with the 39-year-old.
The 15-time England international said he was prompted to contact Scholes via Twitter, with another former United player turned TV pundit, Gary Neville, the middle man.
"I remember watching it, he was having a go at Arsenal, and I was thinking: 'Is he going to come for me?'" Wilshere said. "If it had come from a rubbish player I could say: 'What are you talking about?' But it came from Paul Scholes. For me he was the best English midfielder of all time.
"For the next few days after he said that I sat down and talked to my Dad and a few of the coaches here. I respect him so much and I think he can make a great coach for any young player. I'm a young player and he's been there and done it so I wanted to hear what he had to say.
"You live in a world of football where you get criticised all the time. It hurt a bit more when he did it. But in the game today everyone is improving all the time, it's getting quicker. I just wanted to know what he thought.
"I DMed Gary to ask whether I could have his number. Gary Neville wrote back to me: 'Just go easy on him.'
"We (Scholes and I) had quite a good chat. He's entitled to his opinion.
"He explained it a bit better and told me what he thought I should work on. He was right in a certain way. When I first burst on to the scene there was all this 'blah, blah, blah' (hype) and then I got injured.
"I've had bad luck with injuries but I can't keep saying I've been injured a lot. There comes a time when you stop being a kid and I think that's what he's referring to. 'He's young, he's got all this potential, you have to start putting that potential in (to practice).'
"This season I've improved a lot, scored a few more than I have in the past (five in 42) and got a few more assists. You can keep the ball and you can look good but it’s those stats that matter. That’s what I have to build on."
Wilshere is set to help break Arsenal's nine-year trophy drought, when he lines up for the club in the FA Cup final against Hull City on Saturday.
- Sports & Recreation
- Paul Scholes
- Jack Wilshere
- Gary Neville