10 Things We Learnt In Lockdown With Jack Wilshere by Dan Smith
Jack Wilshere is the latest ex gunner to appear on Arsenal.com’s series, “In Lockdown” He was so chatty the podcast has broken it down in to two parts.
It’s a hard listen in many ways, you can’t help but wonder what might have been? This is a man who truly loved Arsenal who was living his dream. He would have been a future captain for club and country, but he was robbed of the prime of his career by injuries, something he hasn’t recovered from.
He was willing to take a pay cut to stay in North London, a deal he had agreed with Arsene Wenger. When Unai Emery took over though one of his first tasks was to inform the midfielder he wouldn’t fit into his plans. Since joining West Ham he’s yet to prove the Spaniard wrong.
Here Are 10 things We Learnt In Lockdown With Jack Wilshere (Part 1)
You might think that being a rare English talent graduating from our academy meant that there were always high hopes from the moment he was a child. Yet from his parents, to management, to his peers, Jack Wilshere was never told he was the next big thing. In fact, he readily admits the likes of Sanchez Watt, Frimpong and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, etc, were just as good as him at a young age yet all ended up playing at a lower level.
First Team Training By 15
When Arsene Wenger broke off training into little groups he would invite some of the youngsters to come and join in. Normally they have to stand in the middle and try and win the ball back. This is when coaches started calling him a young Zidane.
Shocked To Be in Touring Squad
During a World Cup, Euro year, players would be given an extended pre-season. It was protocol for the academy to make up the numbers in training. This would include the traditional friendly with Barnet before going back to their youth team schedule.
So, to the shock of a 16-year-old Jack Wilshere, he was phoned to be told he had been selected to go on the tour of Austria, even with the whole first team back from international duty. To highlight how much he assumed it wasn’t on the cards, he and his mum were left spending the day trying to find his passport.
Took A While To Form A Relationship With Arsene Wenger
The perception of Arsene Wenger was that he was overprotective of his youngsters, accused at times of giving them too many opportunities. Yet the player says it wasn’t until he was back from his loan spell at Bolton that he had the confidence to be vocal and not be shy around his manager. To be fair the midfielder was 4 years old when Mr Wenger joined Arsenal so you can understand why anyone would find it surreal to be coached by a man you grew up watching.
He Was Shy Around His Teammates
He would end up with the perception of having quite a personality and a love for pranks so it’s hard to believe Jack Wilshere would be so shy in his first couple of years. Yet he so wanted to succeed he didn’t want to say or do anything wrong. He knew the perception of youngsters was kids who became rich quick which went to their heads. Wilshere was determined to prove he didn’t match that profile.
Felt Out Of Place With England
Jack was in the unusual position of being called up for his country before starting a League game for Arsenal. He said it was surreal to meet players he had grown up watching like Gerrard and Lampard and he was thankful to Kieran Gibbs also earning his first cap at the same time, as it gave him someone to talk too.
He Was Warned by Medical Team
From the age of 16 Jack Wilshere was playing men’s football. He was warned the danger of being overplayed too young and it was suggested that his game time be managed to protect his body. The player admits to being in such good form he took little notice but probably wishes now that he had.
That Barcelona Game
Many refer to us beating Barcelona at the Emirates as Jack Wilshere’s best game. Yet he says the Spaniards play such a possession style that it can leave you thinking you’re chasing shadows. It was only when hearing praise off the likes of Fabregas, Iniesta and Xavi that he realised he done something special. Even Nasri told him he had found a level which he now has to maintain.
Wasn’t Interested In Man City
When his old agent recommended this move as a possibility, he made it clear he was living his dream by playing for Arsenal. We have lost so many players to our rivals it’s nice to hear someone simply say they l loved the shirt and wouldn’t think twice about leaving
That Birmingham Final
All gooners will agree with Jack Wilshere claims that Arsenal never recovered from losing the League Cup Final to Birmingham. At that point we were top of the Prem, in the next round of the FA Cup and had beaten Barcelona in the Champions League. The manner of the defeat though crushed the squad mentally, especially the younger players who felt the pressure of the trophy drought.
Wilshere says it took him a few weeks to recover from the pain of how they lost that final, at which point we were out of all the other competitions.
The second part of Jack Wilshere’s interview comes out on Thursday….