Former Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has announced his retirement from football at the age of just 30.
Wilshere broke through the ranks at Arsenal and, after spending a year on loan at Bolton, became a key member of the first team for the 2010/11 season.
At the heart of the midfield, Wilshere — still a teenager — played 35 Premier League games in the 2010/11 season, scooping up the club’s Player of the Season award and the PFA Young Player of the Year award as well as being named in the PFA Team of the Year.
But he would miss the entire 2011/12 campaign after a pre-season injury, something that would unfortunately become a running theme throughout his career.
Although Wilshere returned with 24 appearances in both the 2012/13 and 2013/14 Premier League seasons, he was never truly the same and continued to battle. When he looked to have revived his career on loan at Bournemouth, Wilshere’s final season at Arsenal brought 20 Premier League appearances as he became more of a cup player – signalling the end of his Gunners career.
Wilshere eventually left for West Ham but injuries hit once again and, after another spell at Bournemouth and brief stay in the Danish Superligaen with Aarhus, the Englishman has called time on his career – believing it to be the right moment.
“I 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,” Wilshere said.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
Wilshere’s lack of playing time towards the end of his career has seen the 30-year-old take to punditry, and he is now a regular giving his opinion on the goings on of the football world.
One such matter is the future of Frenkie De Jong. Another midfielder seemingly at a crossroads in his career, De Jong is being linked with a move to Manchester United and Chelsea after struggling to make himself at home in Barcelona’s midfield.
And Wilshere, who of course will know a thing or two about Premier League midfields, believes De Jong would suit the English top flight.
“Man United need him more than Chelsea need him,” Wilshere told TalkSport.
“I think he’s a great player, I watch him a lot. He’s very comfortable and silky on the ball, I think he would suit England, actually.
“He’s a bit like Pirlo but he’s got the ability to glide past players.”