Jack Wilshere has officially announced his retirement from football, although the former Arsenal midfielder may not be out of the game for too long.
At the age of 30, Wilshere has decided to bring a 14-year career to an end following a short stint with Norwegian side AGF, whom he joined back in February after training with the Gunners for a few months and ended up making 15 appearances across all competitions – weighing in with three assists.
Of course, the ex-England international’s career will be vastly remembered for his time at Arsenal, where he’d go on to make almost 200 appearances for the club after coming through the academy in 2008 and being part of the side that won back-to-back FA Cups in 2014 and 2015.
His standout game for the Gunners was that infamous night in the Champions League against Barcelona, where he ‘dominated’ the legendary trio of Sergio Busquets, Xavi and Andres Iniesta. But unfortunately for Wilshere, he wasn’t able to maintain that level as he struggled with injuries thereafter.
He suffered two injury-hit seasons at West Ham United after leaving the Emirates Stadium in the summer of 2018 and returned o Bournemouth in January 2021 on a short-term deal after his contract with the Hammers had been mutually terminated three months prior.
After being released by the Cherries, Wilshere found himself at a crossroads and was invited to return to training at London Colney. Whilst working with Mikel Arteta’s first team to get himself back up to speed, he earned a short-term contract with AGF, but after his contract expired in June, he has announced his decision to retire.
“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,” he wrote 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.
“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.
“Thank you too to everyone connected with Bolton Wanderers, Bournemouth, West Ham United and AGF. Despite some difficult moments, I had many great moments at all of the clubs I represented and enjoyed my time at all. Thank you to my management team Neil Fewings, Duncan Ross, Fahri Ecvet and everyone who has helped me along the way.
“To the best supporters on the planet, all of you Arsenal fans, thank you all from the bottom of my heart. To play for you all has been a privilege. You’ve always made me feel supported, and I hope I did you proud-representing your club. I’ll never forget how you always backed me, and I’ll forever be a Gooner.
“To Archie, Delilah, Sienna and Jack, I hope I have made you proud because you are all that matter. I love you all so much, and thank you for always making me smile. I have enjoyed every moment of my career, and it has been the journey of a lifetime. Now is the right time to close this chapter, but I still have so much to give to the game, and I am excited about what the future holds.”
The final line of this message falls in line with regards to Wilshere’s next move as ‘COYG’ means ‘Come On You Gunners’. It has already been revealed by The Athletic that he will be named U18s head coach, and it’s a role he is certainly excited about judging by previous comments.
“I’ve loved every minute of it,” he told football.london in May. “I didn’t quite know how I’d like it, to be honest. I always thought coaching was something I wanted to do – I done my badges – but I never really thought about it too much because you don’t have time when you’re playing all the time.
“Then I was without a club, and Arsenal invited me back to train and start some coaching, and from the first day of coaching, I loved it. It’s something I want to pursue, get better at and learn.”