Jack Wilshere, the man once dubbed as the future of English football, announced his retirement this week at the age of just 30. In an emotional post on Twitter, Wilshere confirmed he was calling time on his career.
“Today I am announcing my retirement from playing professional football. It has been an unbelievable journey filled with so many incredible moments and I feel privileged to have experienced all that I did during my career. 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 began.
He would continue, detailing how he struggled to end a career that promised so much, so prematurely.
“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. Having played at the very highest level I have always held such huge ambitions within the game and if I am truthful I did not envisage being in this position at times.”
After discussing it with some of his closest confidantes, Wilshere eventually succumbed to what was painfully obvious toward the end of his career.
“However, having had time to reflect and talk with those closest with me, I know that now is the right time and despite the difficult moments I look back on my career with great pride at what I have achieved.
“Playing at the very highest level with some of the best players in the world, winning FA Cups, captaining my club and representing my country were beyond my wildest dreams when I was a small boy growing up in Hitchin.”
He would thank his family, close friends and teammates. The many members of the various coaching staff at the different clubs he played at got thanked, too. He reserved special thanks for Arsenal, the club he signed with as a seven-year-old.
Former academy coaches, senior staff, former teammates and even fans got a mention. Wilshere called the Arsenal fans the best on the planet.
He reassured them he would be a Gooner for life.
THE CAREER OF JACK WILSHERE: A BRIEF OVERVIEW
An Arsenal academy graduate, Wilshere made his debut for the Gunners senior side at the age of just 16. He would then head to Bolton Wanderers on loan, making 14 appearances for them in the 2009/10 Premier League season. Wilshere would return to Arsenal and lift the FA Cup with the North London side twice in 2014 and 2015.
Persistent injuries would end his time at Arsenal in 2018. After leaving the Gunners, he would have a somewhat nomadic career, including spells at Bournemouth and West Ham. Things got so bad he would spend almost a year without a club. Wilshere eventually landed at the Danish club, Aarhus GF. He would play only 14 times for the Danish Superliga, before calling time on his career.
Internationally, he would win his first England cap in 2010, still very much a teenager.
The Stevenage-born midfielder would represent his country 34 times. He found the back of the net twice for the Three Lions. Both of his international goals came in the same fixture against Slovenia in 2008.
Wilshere would not have a good time at international tournaments. He appeared at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil where England would not make it out of the group stage.
Two years later, he was part of the Three Lions side to be dumped out of the Euros early by Iceland.
STUEYS TWO CENTS
Despite going without a club for almost a year before he landed in Denmark, this news genuinely surprised me. People who remember Wilshere when he burst onto the scene will remember just how talented he was.
Most summations of his career will lean towards phrases like ‘ended too soon’ and ‘injury prone.’ And I am no different and that is such a shame.
Stuart Kavanagh is a sports journalist from Melbourne, Australia. Along with being the owner of the sports and entertainment website thepyrrhic.com, he is the co-host of the ‘After Extra Time’ podcast. Football mad, he is always down for debate and discussion at @stueyissickofit on Twitter.Follow paulmbanks