Arsene Wenger defended Jack Wilshere after Roy Keane labelled the Arsenal midfield "probably the most over-rated player on the planet".
Arsenal slumped to an embarrassing 2-1 defeat at home to Ostersunds in the Europa League on Thursday, advancing to the last 16 by virtue of a 3-0 win in the away leg.
Wenger shuffled his starting XI with an eye on Sunday's EFL Cup final against Manchester City but Wilshere captained the side and conceded afterwards the Gunners "weren't good enough".
That did not spare the 26-year-old - who has re-established himself at Arsenal this season after a year on loan at Bournemouth and persistent injury struggles - from Keane's wrath.
Speaking on ITV, the former Manchester United great said: "You look for your senior players to lead by example…when Wilshere is your captain, to me, he is probably the most over-rated player on the planet."
Wenger adopted a weary tone when the matter was raised at his news conference to preview the EFL Cup final.
"Who said that?" he asked before exhaling at length when informed Keane was the pundit in question.
"It's very difficult. I personally rate Jack very highly," he answered. "After that, you can have opinions.
"Jack was in a team that did not perform well, so it was not easy for him.
"It was not his best performance but Roy Keane knows that can happen to everybody."
One midfielder who does not have to look too far for praise this season is Kevin De Bruyne.
The Manchester City star has been a key factor in Pep Guardiola's side establishing a dominant 16-point lead in the Premier League and is viewed as a front-runner for the end-of-season awards in England.
"He's had an exceptional development," Wenger said. "One of the big strengths of Manchester City is De Bruyne.
"He is a modern midfielder for me, he can be decisive in the final third.
"He works very hard; he is right footed, left footed, a fighter as well. Overall, I am not surprised [by De Bryune's performances]."
Wenger added: "They have so many players that you could think about how to stop that it is better you focus on the team plan rather than any individual."
24 de marzo 2018
|I´ll dance with the fans - Gayle ready to party in Harare|
|Two games in two days! Ireland´s Doyle returns from Turkey to play for Bradford|
|Bancroft caught up in ball-tampering row|
|Everything is fine again! Khedira offers positive fitness update|
|Puyol ´doesn´t see any problem´ with Neymar joining Real Madrid|
|Spain already know their team - Sampaoli seeks Argentina certainty|
|No offers for ´happy´ Bellerin, insists Arsenal full-back´s agent|
|F1 teams up with Netflix for documentary series|
|Iker is trembling already! - Ramos hunting down Casillas´ cap record|
|Warriors leave it late to preserve winning start, Hayne injures hip|
|Silva leaves Spain squad for personal reasons|
|Egypt coach Cuper declares Salah among world´s best|
|A-League Review: Simon haunts managerless Mariners, Jakobsen opens City account|
|Ricciardo: I´ve been shot in the ankle before season has even started|
|Alvarez temporarily suspended over positive test|
|Ronaldo trumps Salah, Messi missing - winners and losers from Friday´s internationals|
|Giggs wants Bale to stay at Real Madrid|
|Canes end Highlanders´ winning run|
|Bottas ´sorry´ for qualifying crash|
|Muller and Ozil set to miss Brazil friendly|
|´I wanted to wipe the smile off your face´ - Hamilton-Vettel rivalry already simmering|
|Ramos hails Spain´s belief after Germany draw|
|Buffon not ready to walk away as Italy look to the future|
|Hamilton breaks records to take pole in Melbourne|
|Curry suffers MCL sprain in first game back from ankle injury|
|Rain ruins day three in Auckland|
|Celtics get another short-handed win, Curry injured again|
|Wozniacki exits as Venus, Konta cruise in Miami|
|Wozniacki stunned by Puig in Miami|
|Mexico 3 Iceland 0: Layun scores brace in friendly win|
|Djokovic struggles continue as Cilic, Dimitrov progress|
|Usain Bolt not ready for top level, says Stoger|
|Ronaldo is a goal – Santos hails Portugal star|
|Pro Bowl TE Bennett announces retirement from NFL|
|Broncos acquire Veldheer from Cardinals for sixth-round pick|
|Dustin Johnson smashes 489-yard drive at Match Play|
|Celtics star Irving to have procedure on knee|
|Giants lose Bumgarner, Samardzija to injuries days before season opener|
|Dybala and Icardi World Cup chances not over yet, says Sampaoli|
|Reed dumps Spieth out, Harman accounts for McIlroy|
|James: Colombia can´t get carried away with France win|
|Italy to wait on Verratti injury|
|Lopetegui happy with Spain showing against ´physically stronger´ Germany|
|Warriors rampant, Weir inspires Edinburgh|
|Messi has had hamstring injury for ´some time´|
|Forward-thinking Southgate makes case for England´s defence|
|McLeish to ring Scotland changes for Hungary clash|
23 de marzo 2018
|Rodrigo dedicates Spain goal to Canizares after death of son|
|France were taught a lesson in aggression by Colombia, says Deschamps|
|Late Simmonds penalty breaks Bath hearts|
|Ronaldo up to third on all-time list after Portugal brace|
|Cowboys boost receiving corps with Allen Hurns signing|
|Tigers cling on to win Elland Road thriller, Saints respond at Hull KR|
|Meunier expects PSG will sack Emery|
|Tony Romo finishes last in PGA Tour debut|
|Germany friendly emotionally important for Brazil - Tite|
|France 2 Colombia 3: Quintero completes stunning comeback in Paris|
|Portugal 2 Egypt 1: Late Ronaldo double stuns Salah-inspired Pharaohs|
|No Messi, no Magic – Sampaoli playing a risky game ignoring Dybala|
|Netherlands 0 England 1: Lingard strikes to ruin Koeman´s debut|
|Scotland 0 Costa Rica 1: McLeish suffers defeat in first game back|
|Argentina 2 Italy 0: Banega & Lanzini win it for Messi-less Albiceleste|
|Germany 1 Spain 1: Muller wonderstrike cancels out Rodrigo opener|
|Curry available to make Warriors return against Hawks|
|Paire ousts out-of-sorts Djokovic in Miami|
|Ibrahimovic: If I want to go to the World Cup, I´m there|
|Michael Bennett indicted for allegedly injuring paraplegic woman|
|Svitolina ends Osaka winning run in Miami|
|Australia not ready for World Cup – Van Marwijk|
|Turkey 1 Republic of Ireland 0: Topal strike downs O´Neill´s men|