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Jack Wilshere suggests a nickname for Santi Cazorla

Santi Cazorla celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal against Tottenham at the Emirates. Santi Cazorla celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal against Tottenham at the Emirates.

Monday, November 19, 2012
6:30 AM

Jack Wilshere claimed Santi Cazorla’s nickname should be ‘Messi’ or ‘Maradona’ after watching Arsenal’s new hero inspire their latest north London derby thrashing of Tottenham.

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Wilshere and Cazorla both sung each other’s praises following yesterday’s 5-2 Barclays Premier League win over Spurs at the Emirates Stadium.

But England midfielder Wilshere took the love-in to extremes when he suggested his new team-mate bore comparison with all-time greats Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona.

Asked if Arsenal’s players had a nickname for their new talisman, Wilshere said: “Not yet. Maybe it should be Messi!”

Record signing Cazorla was dubbed ‘Paquirrin’ (Fat Boy) in his native Spain because of his resemblance to a celebrity who goes by the same moniker.

When this was pointed out to Wilshere, he said: “Maradona then.”

Wilshere has played alongside Cazorla just four times since his return from 17 months out injured but he claimed the 27-year-old was as good as anyone he had encountered.

He said: “His touch and his vision is just a joke. He is a dream to play with.

“He never gives the ball away, he is creative and busy round the pitch. He is a joy to play with.”

Playing down comparisons with Cesc Fabregas, he added: “He is a different player to Cesc. Cesc is more of a passer.

“With Santi, he can pick the ball up, he can beat people, he has got a great shot on him. He is just different class and he is great to play with.”

Cazorla was unstoppable yesterday against 10-man Spurs and Wilshere was in awe.

“There was one point when there were three players around him and he just dribbled out of it,” he said.

“That is up there with the best. I think I will have to watch it again to learn a few thing off him!”

Cazorla’s performance was all the more remarkable after he was forced to travel to Panama and back for a Spain friendly he played no part in.

Wilshere said: “I spoke to him on Friday and he said it was an 11-hour flight.

“He doesn’t speak much English - he just smiled.

“I think with the competition in the Spanish team, if they call you, you have to go.

“You can’t say no - otherwise they’ll replace you with a player who is just as good.”

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Arsenal

Nickname: The Gunners.

Ground: Emirates Stadium (capacity 60,361).

Founded: 1886.

Honours: First Division (until 1992) and Premier League: 1931, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1938, 1948, 1953, 1971, 1989, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2004.

FA Cup: 1930, 1936, 1950, 1971, 1989, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005.

League Cup: 1987, 1993.

Fairs Cup: 1970.

Cup Winners’ Cup: 1994.

Leading goalscorer: Thierry Henry, 228.

Leading appearances: David O’Leary, 722.