West Ham United midfielder Jack Wilshere was the team’s most popular player during their pre season tour of China, according to Football London.
The report claims that the 27-year-old was the pick of the bunch on and off the pitch in the Far East, with his popularity with the Chinese fans far exceeding his teammates’.
The England international remains extremely popular in China from his time as an Arsenal player, and was met by a fan club when the team arrived at their hotel.
That popularity was behind the Hammers’ decision to put Wilshere up in front of the media prior to the Newcastle United game.
This was a hugely positive pre season for Wilshere on the pitch and, seemingly, off it as well. The injury-plagued midfielder has looked back to his best after an extremely frustrating debut season at the London Stadium, and it’s been great to see. He was the team’s best player over the course of their two Premier League Asia Trophy fixtures, looking a class above the majority of his teammates. But this has been a refreshing trip for him from a popularity standpoint as well, it seems. Clearly he was far and away the team’s most popular player in the FarEast, cashing in on his Arsenal past. To have a fan club turn at the team hotel may not have been exactly what Wilshere wanted, but it shows the gulf in popularity between the Premier League’s established order and the rest of the top flight teams out in places like China.