As the old saying goes, time is the undefeated champion. After a promising career cut short by untimely injuries, former Hale End graduate Jack Wilshere announced his retirement from playing professional football this morning with a lengthy and heartfelt farewell on his twitter. While the news is a bummer to those who remember his swashbuckling midfield play as an exciting English starlet, his relationship with his boyhood club is far from over, as it was reported by David Ornstein that the former Gunner is set to to take over the U18 head coach position for Arsenal’s academy.
EXCL: Arsenal set to name Jack Wilshere U18s head coach. After 30yo’s retirement, appointment being finalised. Expected to be supported by Adam Birchall + Julian Gray. Mehmet Ali in line for U23s, Max Porter assistant. W/ @gunnerblog @TheAthleticUK #AFC https://t.co/So6vvb1Jn6— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) July 8, 2022
There is probably no player in the Emirates era that has been more quintessentially Arsenal than Jack. From his playing style to his unrepentant and vocal love of the club (and hatred of rivals), Jack and Arsenal were one in the same. Wilshere spent 17 years at Arsenal before leaving the club in 2018, joining the youth academy in 2001 before becoming Arsenal’s youngest-ever debutant at 16 years and 256 days.
Famously part of Arsene Wenger’s British core, he enjoyed 10 seasons as part of Arsenal’s first team, winning two FA Cups and a Community Shield before leaving the club to join West Ham in 2018. His highs were sublime, providing some of the most iconic performances in modern Arsenal history, like his performance against Barcelona in the Champions League at 19 years of age and putting the final touch on the greatest team goal in the history of the Premier League.
His post-Arsenal tenure was unfortunately beset by inconsistency after injuries continued to mount. After three seasons and only 16 appearances with West Ham, Wilshere’s contract was terminated in 2020 before a brief return stint with Bournemouth that ended in 2021. Since then, Wilshere has been a regular presence around the club training grounds during recent years as he continued to train with the first team in hopes of rekindling his career.
Despite being picked up by Danish side AGF in February of 2022, the former England international made the decision to hang up his boots at 30 years of age and come home. With his new career path set, he joins former teammates Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker in Arsenal’s coaching and development tree. And, in all honestly, who better is there to instill the values of Hale End than one of its most celebrated graduates?
With that, we wish Jack the best of luck and look forward to his impact with Arsenal’s academy. While we have no clue what kind of coach he will be, we know for certain one thing, and that’s Arsenal’s next crop of talent will know exactly what we think of Tottenham.