Footy Times

Jack Wilshere Hangs Up His Boots

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Former England and Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has announced his retirement from football as a player at the age of 30. He is now set to be confirmed as the Arsenal Under-18s head coach next week.

 

Wilshere also played for Bolton, Bournemouth and West Ham in England. He ended his playing career at Danish side Aarhus GF, whom he joined in February this year, making 14 appearances.

 

“It has been an unbelievable journey filled with so many incredible moments,” wrote Wilshere on Twitter, “From being the little boy kicking a ball around in the garden to captaining my beloved Arsenal and playing for my country at a World Cup. I have lived my dream.”

 Wilshere broke onto the scene with Arsenal at the age of 16, breaking the record for the Gunners’ youngest ever league debutant. He went on to make 197 appearances for Arsenal in all competitions, scoring 14 goals and assisting 30 more. He won the FA Cup twice and the Community Shield once with the north London club.

 

A box-to-box midfield leader known for his movement, technique, passing range, toughness and mentality, Wilshere was described by former manager Arsene Wenger as having “Spanish technique, but an English heart.” He was capped 34 times for the national side and represented the Three Lions at the 2014 World Cup.

Wilshere fends off Barcelona’s Xavi. (Photo Credits: Arsenal Football Club Plc)

His career, however, was severely affected by a host of injuries. His first major one, a stress fracture in the ankle, kept him out for most of the 2011-12 season. After a litany of smaller problems, he then fractured his calf bone and subsequently missed the entirety of the 2015-16 season. Further injury problems limited his game time over the years. “In truth it has been difficult to accept that my career has been slipping away in recent times due to reasons outside of my control whilst feeling that I have still had so much to give,” Wilshere wrote in his post.

 

When fit, Wilshere managed to score some beautiful goals and was twice awarded the BBC Goal of the Season. The first one, for a dazzling team move against Norwich that was finished off by Wilshere, was followed in the very next season by the second, awarded for a rocket from outside the area against West Brom.

A promising youth prospect whose career did not quite live up to that promise, Wilshere will hope to find more success as he begins his coaching career. He will work with Arsenal’s Under-18s along with Adam Birchall and Julian Gray, two other former players who began their careers at the club.

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