Jack Wilshere is one of Arsenal’s academy best-ever products. When the young Englishman burst onto the scene it was obvious that he was heading straight to the top.
When he ran the midfield against a Barcelona side that had the likes of Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez, everyone knew then that Arsenal had a world-class star on their hands.
However, injuries became a problem for the former England international and close to the time of Arsene Wenger’s exit from the Emirates the Frenchman had given up on his star man.
Wilshere had just returned on loan from Bournemouth and it appeared as if he has revived his career, but after another injury setback, Wenger candidly told him that he can leave Arsenal if there was a team interested in giving him a long-term deal because he would no longer be considered good enough to start every game at the Emirates.
The West Ham midfielder revealed this in a recent interview.
‘That was tough,’ Wilshere told BBC Radio 5 Live as quoted by the Metro. ‘It was a strange year really because I came back from Bournemouth with a year left on my contract and I was injured as well, I broke my leg at Bournemouth at the end of the season so I wasn’t ready for the start of the season.
‘I remember sat in the gym on a bike and Arsene came over. Arsene was brilliant, he was so honest with me, he was like, “look, Jack, you’ve got a year left, you’re in a strong position, but you’re not going to play here, if you find someone who will give you a long-term contract and find something that works out for you, you can go”.
‘I looked around the team and thought to myself, “you know what, with a manager who knows what I can do, if I get myself really fit I’ve got a chance of playing here”.
‘And I did that. I played a few Under-23 games, I got into the Europa League team, the Carling Cup team, then all of a sudden we weren’t doing that well in the Premier League and Arsene put me in and I think I played 34 games that year.
‘Then they offered me a new deal. I think they offered me the new deal in March and I was out of contract in June.
‘We finally got to a contract we agreed, it wasn’t entirely what I wanted, it was based more on performances and stuff like that but it is what it was and I had the decision to make.
‘I remember I sat down with my family, with my wife and Arsene had just announced he was leaving, it just felt like it was the right time to move on. I’d done it before and it was a loan move to Bournemouth but I enjoyed it, I had a great time at Bournemouth.
‘I knew there was life outside Arsenal. I just thought it was the right time to move on. Times were changing at Arsenal, things were changing. I spoke with the new manager [Unai Emery] as well and he was like, “you can stay but you’re not in my starting XI”.
‘I know I had that the year before but the difference was it was Arsene, he knew what I could do and he trusted me. I knew that if I got fit I could play. I didn’t really get that vibe off Emery.
‘It just felt it was the right time to leave, it was tough, I still look back and sometimes think, “‘should I, should I have not?”. But it is what it is, but now I’m at West Ham and I need to get fit and start playing games for them.’