Arteta’s offer to Wilshere shows Arsenal’s class and Jack’s bravery

Wilshere’s problems by Dan Smith

Arsene Wenger warned in his final year as manager that Arsenal as a fanbase were in danger of losing the values they had so long stood for.

Once known as the club who did things with class, we now have players who will openly say they have been mentally affected by the level of abuse aimed at them by some ‘fans’.

Other talents have been frozen out, quite literally paid to sit at home. There was talk that a mole existed, someone leaking about confidential information.

Then famously we handled Covid by asking the squad to take a pay cut to save staff jobs, only to lie and make 55 people redundant.

These are decisions that Mr Wenger wouldn’t have made, with the Frenchman always praising the spirit and togetherness within his teams.

So, it’s heart-warming to see the Gunners offer Jack Wilshere a place to train while he tries to find a new employer.

“The depressive thoughts don’t care if you’re a footballer. I think it’s important to speak out.”

Doing a favour for someone associated with you since the age of 9 is indeed class.

Helping a man who literally grew up under your watch is the right thing to do.

The midfielder can’t find a club in England willing to offer him a contract based on his injury record so it’s not likely either party are viewing this as a first step to the 29-year-old re-signing for us.

In other words, Arteta doesn’t gain anything out of this. As Wilshere’s ex-captain, he simply recognizes what Super Jack means to most Gooners and wants to help by giving his former teammate access to our world class training facilities.

It can’t hurt our manager’s reputation because at times he has come across too ruthless. Once he decides you don’t meet his ethos, he will discard you and know why he has treated all his players the same way.

Whether Wilshere trains on his own or joins in with team drills, it can only help his fitness. Yet more importantly it’s a boost to his mental state.

If you watch his interview with The Athletic, while he doesn’t claim to be depressed, it’s hard not to be concerned about a young man’s welfare.

Representing CALM and Original Penguin, Wilshere admits that a lot of feedback from his meeting with David Ornstein was concern and empathy. He admits he was relieved as he was originally worried how the public would perceive a footballer saying how he feels.

Here is a player once predicted to be a future captain for club and country, once so good he was man of the match when beating Barcelona, the face of a young Arsenal team, etc.

Now not even 30, he was talking about not knowing what he was training for, losing the passion for the sport and even considering retirement.

He clearly feels let down by his image in the UK of being injury prone and has regrets about choices he made.

He admits regretting not accepting Unai Emery’s ‘pay as you play’ deal, as that was a midfield he could have broken into.

Wherever he truly believes his body can handle topflight football only he knows. One thing is clear, that years of the mind being willing, and the body was not, has taken its toll.

Which makes it a vicious cycle because unless the mind is healthy, it doesn’t matter what physical shape he gets himself into.

He’s learnt this week that saying how you feel isn’t a weakness, but in fact bravery.

If you ever feel low, on your own or isolated, or just need to talk, call the Samaritans for free on 116 123…


Dan Smith


  1. Arsenal also allowed Beckham, Song, Eboue and Henry to regain their fitness at the Emirates

    If Wilshere demands a premium salary and when clubs take his injury history into account, they’ll just look past him. He needs to lower his demands and he might get a place in the Championship or Scottish league

  2. Anyone who was paid 3,000% more than a brain surgeon for kicking a football should not be
    talking about life’s “struggles”
    3 billion people live below the poverty line.
    Another two billion survive on the bare minimum.
    Even in advanced countries like England making ends meet is a daily battle.
    Entitled millionaires and their struggles.

    1. This is a rediculous comment. We do not live in a communist country. People don’t all earn the same. This also does not mean that higher earners are better than lower earners. Every jobs creates a demand. Demand is what makes the price go up. regardless of that job being considered more needed. The problem is not the player earning more money than a brain surgeon. The problem is that more people are willing to spend money of football rather than doctors. Don’t hate the player, hate the game.

      1. kev, I agree with your post AND with that of FAIRFAN . Both those “seemingly” contradictory posts carry much truth , IMO. I do not actually “hate”, but certainly have a great contempt for the way our elite game is run at all corporate levels.

        The ninety minutes game is wonderful, BUT PRACTICALLY ALL that surrounds it and which governs it, is dishonest and in a major degree corrupt too.


        Not forgetting the constant cheating, within the actual game itself too, despite the games obvious attraction!

        PS, Nothing in FAIRFANS post was in any way a support for Communism, which is itself deeply destructive and corrupt as a system of government. Fairfan spoke simply of fairness and he was correct to do so.

    2. Mental health doesn’t prejudice
      It doesn’t make you immune based on wealth.
      How many celebs , actors , muscians , etc do you hear take their lifes?
      I bet their family wish they spoke up ?
      Your logic is though that because they have some money in the bank then they should stay silent ?

      1. Maybe you want to read what Wyoming (AKA Fairfan)wrote Jon .
        “Entitled millionaires and their struggles “
        Basically rich people should not mental health problems ,not something I would be agreeing with ,but each to their own .
        This is the same fan who said all football fans live in rough high rise flats .
        Nothing fair about his posts what so ever .

        1. I can only suggest he has never exsperienced depression or had a family member or friend who’s gone through mental health struggles
          If he did he would know it’s an illness.



          Had he written what you falsely allege, then I would have tackled him on such a comment. But he did not write it!

          I find deliberate misrepresentation of another persons posts to be a low trick and to be avoided by decent people!

          1. and I did not write he did
            This is what he wrote ,
            Anyone who was paid 3,000% more than a brain surgeon for kicking a football should not be
            talking about life’s “struggles”

            I think it’s fair to asset that he’s saying anyone who is rich ‘ should not be talking about life struggles’

            What’s your takeaway from that comment?

          2. I understood it the way Jon did. I think FF meant financial troubles. I don’t see a hint of mental issues in his post.

          3. @ Jon
            Entitled millionaires and their struggles “
            Jack was talking about mental health fairfans comment belittled him ,I’m not sure how you cannot grasp what he posted ,it’s plain and simple even for some one with low IQ

          4. In answer to DAN KITS post timed at 5.55 I believe, though I may of course be wrong, but I genuinely believe he was referring to rich people should not have financial troubles and simply that.

            IF, by implication – since he certainly did not say it explicitly in words (and I take people to mean to say precisely what they write, though I know SOME less literate folk do not) – he did MEAN rich people should not have mental problems, then he is clearly not only wrong but stupid.

            But as he did NOT write that, I prefer to think otherwise. He does not appear illiterate at all, to my mind.

          5. no he literally says wealthy ‘ shouldn’t be talking about life struggles”
            That’s where I got the notion that he might be saying that someone wealthy shouldn’t be talking about his…life struggles ?

            And I stress , he’s wrong !

    3. If only you had bothered to read the full interview,you would have known that he was talking about depression not discriminating and caring if you are rich or poor…

      1. If you only had bothered to read all the comments you would know …..
        I wasn’t reffering to the interview I was referring to the comment
        Anyone who was paid 3,000% more than a brain surgeon for kicking a football should not be
        talking about life’s “struggles”
        Essentially saying that because Jack Wilshire has money he does not qualify to say how he feels?

  3. Pay as you play schedule sounds likely the best choice.

    If the aim is for him to help arsenal also, and therefore to be playing then pay as you play sounds fair.

    In the meantime put him on a basic salary which considers any media work he will be for arsenal…etc

    It’s like a sales role right, commission on sales, pay on play

  4. Not sure how relevant it is to bring up pay cuts and not registering a player is to the Wilshere situation.
    I’d agree with GAI. I feel for him though; to have had and experienced so much. A shame

  5. He was on good path & healthy until he started to break rules; drink & party doesn’t help fitness & body but leads to injury risks.

    He was succesful very young and did not cope with it mentaly.

    Takes discipline, focus & be wise in order to succeed.

    Look Messi, Ronaldo or Mbappe and many players…

    Hope he stays fit and turn things around, more mature now, still young, best years are from 26 to 31.

  6. Jack was once the most promising young player Arsenal ever had but bad luck with injuries, bad lifestyle and unable to cope with stardom all led to his downfall. He should have definitely taken up UE’s offer of pay as you play and could have broken into the Arsenal midfield under UE. However, it is better late than never and if he has learnt a thing or two from experience, so much so. Also it will teach our young stars the perils of a bad lifestyle, indiscipline and being a non systematic person, irrespective of the talent you possess. He could use the pay as you play offer, if given by Arsenal and be a mentor for the youngsters. For once, I feel, Arteta has shown the human side of his life and he has to be appreciated for that. Not sure whether Pepp, Klopp or Tuchel would have done that.

    1. Jack was already in serious decline at the end of his Arsenal career. He signed for West Ham where he completely bombed. Staying at Arsenal would not have changed the fact that he was no longer good enough to play in the PL.

      Jack is washed up. If he wants a job it will be in the lower ranks as he is not good enough for the Championship. Training with Arsenal is not going to change anything.

  7. Applause to you Dan for your excellent and humane article which shows so cleary why people and their physical AND mental health is FAR MORE important than simply winning football games , as passionate as we all are about doing so.

    I am torn about Jacks past though, when with us and for this reason:
    As a life long Gooner for well over 60 years and counting, I have always put the clubs health before ANY individual player, no matter who that player was, whether Henry Bergkamp and that ilk, OR the lowliest standard we have ever had inour team.
    That has been my guiding principle as a fan and remains so.
    But that does NOT mean that I wish any harm to any player and I have used very strong words against many of our players, as many on JA wil testify.

    But that has always been simply because I INSIST ON PUTTING THE TEAM AND CLUB BEFORE ANY INDIVIDUAL.

    It does NOT meanthough that I care nothing for all our players as people, though I will freely admit that my strong rhetoric at times will give those who do not know me personally, (which is practically everyone on here), a false and wrong opinion.

    Of course Wilsheres health matters; it matters immensely, as equally does the health of every single non evil person on our planet.

    Which is precisely why I so praise the vital message that this tremendous articles preaches so well.

    We often forget, and I AM AS GUILTY OF FORGETTING AS MUCH AS ANY OTHER GOONER, where our true priorities OUGHT to lie.

    The bottom line is that countless millions are starving, in war zones and in all types of other acute distress around our globe, while WE worry ourselves sick about a football team! WARPED PRIORITIES IMO!

  8. Well said folks, good points. As an ex-Arsenal player who has fallen on tough times, the offer of support and to train at the club IMO is more like the Arsenal of old. I do think that “ALL” Premiere League clubs don’t do enough to support ex-players. Not everyone leaves football millionaires and compassion isn’t high on the corporate menu I’m afraid.

    1. GRANTYGOONER, a wise post of yours and what Jacks new chance to train shows us is that while vile corporates such as KSE own the club, the club is daily run by fine and proper valued human beings. I of course refer to MA in particular but not only him.

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