On September 30, 2008 the young Jack Wilshere, 16 years and 256 days old, became the youngest footballer to debut in the Premier League with the Arsenal. That start that continued the following week with his first goal as a professional, seemed to indicate that everything that this teenager had shown with the reserve team and in the minor categories of the English team was going to give great results in the professional field. Today, almost 13 years after that unforgettable day, the footballer is at the worst moment of his career.
“Never in my life did I think I was going to be in this position. Today I was running on a running track. Everyone told me that at 28 or 29 I was going to be at the top of my career. And I thought that this would be the case, that I would continue playing for England, that I would continue in a top club … “, he commented this week in dialogue with the site The Athletic.
It is that the midfielder is far from being the footballer that he knew how to be. After joining the academy of the Arsenal in 2001 his level grew until he became part of the U-16 team that was crowned champion of the Atalanta Cup in which he was also chosen as the best in the tournament. That is why he caught the attention of Arsène Wenger, who little by little was weaving his inclusion in the first team of which he became an important piece in the 2012/13 season.
His performances also placed him in the senior team, with which he was part of the 2014 World Cup., in which he played two games, in a forgettable contest for a team that said goodbye in the first round after adding just one point in three games, due to a draw against Costa Rica and losses against Italy and Uruguay. He was also summoned two years later to Euro 2016, but the dark chapter of his career would soon begin.
It is that the constant injuries caused them to fall out of favor and their market value, which he knew reached USD 25 million, began to plummet.
For the 2016/17 season he was loaned to another club and upon returning he received the worst news: “I had a conversation with Wenger when I came back from my assignment at Bournemouth and I had 12 months left on my contract. He told me: ‘You can go, here we are not going to offer you a new contract.’ I knew that Wenger valued me as a footballer and I knew that if I had games I could earn my trust. I had the same conversation when I sat down with (Unai) Emery and he said, ‘Look, here you have a new contract but you’re not going to be in my starting lineup.’ I remember I left angry, I called my agent and told him that I had to go. Maybe I should have taken a few days to think that I could have fought for a position in that midfield. “
From there he went to West Ham United, of whom he was a fan as a child, but things did not improve because physical problems haunted him. That is why he left at the end of the season and in January 2021 he joined Bournemouth, but things were not much better so he was released again after a handful of months and now no club wants to hire him.
“My children are already at an age where they understand things. Archie, who is nine, asks me: ‘What do you think of MLS? Why aren’t you playing in the league? ‘ He loves football, he knows everything. Sometimes he says to me: Why doesn’t any team want you? I do not know. How do I explain it?. They have friends at school and you know how children are, they can be very tough. Why doesn’t your dad work? Isn’t he a good footballer? ”He declared in anguish while waiting for an offer. “The most difficult thing is trying to explain it when they ask things like: So why don’t you sign for a team in England? And I think: because nobody loves me ”.
At the age of 29, the footballer has been marked by his injuries and nobody seems to want to risk hiring him, despite the fact that he is convinced that he will be able to change that image: “Perhaps it is because of my injury history and because of the references that people are giving, but I think it is unfair. The last time I was injured was in January 2020. I am open to playing abroad. In fact, I want to go and try something different, it will be good for me and my family. I don’t want him to think: ‘Look, here is Wilshere, he is going to get injured today … or he will play five games and it will be a waste of money.’