Jack Wilshere has been announced as the new Arsenal u18 Head Coach after his retirement from football when he was released by the Danish side AGF Århus.

LONDON, ENGLAND: Jack Wilshere during the STATSports event on May 24, 2022. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND: Jack Wilshere during the STATSports event on May 24, 2022. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)ilshere

At the age of just 30, Jack Wilshere announced his retirement from professional football and has moved quickly in to coaching, having been in talks with Arsenal about the vacant youth managers jobs at the club over the past few months.

Shortly after he announced his retirement, David Ornstein said that Wilshere was set to become Arsenal’s new u18 head coach. Arsenal then confirmed this on Monday, fulfilling a promise Mikel Arteta made at the start of the year.

Speaking to Arsenal.com, Wilshere said, “A big part of my life was spent in the academy, and they were some of the best days of my life. My coach back then was Steve Bould and to walk in the footsteps of people like that is a massive honour. It’s a big opportunity for me.

“Still being relatively young, I didn’t expect my playing days to be done at this age, but when you get an opportunity like this given to you, it’s hard to turn down.

“Per [Mertesacker], Luke [Hobbs] and the whole of the club have been amazing. They’ve shown confidence in me, and I’m really happy and excited for the new chapter.

“It’s a special feeling to be part of the Arsenal family. It never left me, and even though I moved on for a few years, my heart was always still at Arsenal.

“When I think of a family, family is always there for you no matter what. Even if you leave, the door is always open and I always felt that when I came back here.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 08: Jack Wilshere and Cesc Fabregas of Arsenal leave the field at the end of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Barcelona and Arsenal at the Nou Camp Stadium on March 8, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN – MARCH 08: Jack Wilshere and Cesc Fabregas of Arsenal leave the field at the end of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Barcelona and Arsenal at the Nou Camp Stadium on March 8, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

“That experience [coaching last season] is what really gave me the hunger to go after a job like this and think about the future,” he added. “I always had coaching in the back of my mind, but then I came back here last year and I was doing it full-time for six months, and the more I learnt about it, the more it intrigued me.

“I’m the first to admit that I probably haven’t got the experience that a lot of coaches have out there, but I have got experience of walking in the players’ footsteps, coming through the academy and making it into the first-team. I think first and foremost I need to focus on myself here, learning how to be a coach, but I think when you’ve got ambition and you’re hungry, it helps you learn quicker and ultimately you help the kids.

“I want a team that dominates possession, tries to win the ball back as high as possible, as quickly as possible. Working under Arsene and people like that, they instilled that in us from a young age. If I can bring that in, along with Mikel’s thoughts and ideas, I think that’s a recipe for success.

“I was thinking about all the coaches I worked with, including Mikel, and taking inspiration from all of them. I think it’s so important that the academy and first-team are aligned. If there’s a player who needs to go over and train with the first-team, he has to have the same fundamentals that the first-team players have, and the same language is used between us and them. I think that gives them the best chance.”

Jack Wilshere in training with Arsenal (Photo via Arsenal.com)
Jack Wilshere in training with Arsenal (Photo via Arsenal.com)

Speaking back in February, Mikel Arteta said that Wilshere would “100%” return to Arsenal and he has indeed kept that promise.

Asked if Wilshere could return, Arteta said, “One hundred per cent.

“I think everyone at the club would be willing to open the doors for him and try to find a role for him that would work for everybody. I think that will happen naturally in the future.

“It’s been great to have him, and I think I’m speaking on behalf of everybody and the club, it’s been absolutely a pleasure to have Jack back.

“To enjoy watching him play next to us, to have him around, the inspiration that he is for all the young people.

“Hopefully we can help him – we have helped him a little bit as well – because he had some doubts with what to do, whether to start coaching or continue playing.

“I think this group of players have given him again that necessity to experience – on a daily basis – how magnificent it is to feel like a football player, and I think he wants to experience that again. We wish him the best of luck.”

Jack Wilshere retires from playing

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 10: Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere of Arsenal celebrate their win during the FA Community Shield match between Manchester City and Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on August 10, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 10: Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere of Arsenal celebrate their win during the FA Community Shield match between Manchester City and Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on August 10, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Taking to social media last week, Wilshere delivered a lengthy statement that read, “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. 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. Playing at the very highest level with some of the best players in the world, winning FA Cups, captaining my club and representing my country were beyond my wildest dreams when I was a small boy growing up in Hitchin.

“I feel very fortunate to have had the career I’ve had but none of it would have been possible if it wasn’t for the love and support of so many people.

“Firstly, to my Mum Kerry, Dad Andy, brother Tom and sister Rosie. Without the sacrifice, love and unconditional support from all of you when I was a kid and through to this very day, nothing would have been possible and words will never be enough. Thank you for everything from the bottom of my heart. I will never forget everything you did for me to help me achieve my dreams.

“Thank you to all my lifelong friends for your support and friendships, you all know who you are. A special thank you must go to my best friends Duane and Benik. Through the good times and the bad you’ve always supported me and I’ve always felt that I could always rely on your honesty and support.

“To all of my early coaches and staff especially Gordon Lawrence, Steve Leonard, Bobby Arber, Rog Masey, Liam Brady, Steve Bould, Mark Ellis, Tunde, Neil Banfield and all of you who taught me the ‘Arsenal way’. You led the way for the career I was able to have. Thank you.

“Words will never do justice to the love and thanks I have for the Boss, Arsene, Pat Rice and Boro Primorac. Without your belief, support and guidance from the very first day we met I wouldn’t have been able to become part of the Arsenal family. I’m forever grateful to you all. A huge thank you to the board, management and everyone else connected with Arsenal FC. Having joined the club at the age of 7 years old you’ve become my extended family and thank you for everything.

“Thank you to all of the other coaches from my senior career and with a special thank you to Roy Hodgson and Eddie Howe. Both of whom are fantastic managers that showed belief in me at critical points in my career and when I needed it most.
To all of my teammates over the years; it’s been an honour to have shared a dressing room with you all. We’ve shared memories that will last a lifetime. Thank you for your help and support both on and off the pitch.

“A big thank you to Colin Lewin, Declan Lunch and all of his team for all of your help throughout my entire career. 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 Big Dunc, thank you for being at the end of the phone countless times for support, love and wise words.

“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.

“Lastly but most importantly, to my wife and children. Words simply can’t express what your love and unconditional support means to me. You’ve shared my highs and my lows and never wavered in your love and support for me. Through the dark times you were the reasons I got out of bed and kept going. Andriani, thank you and I love you so much.

“You’re my rock and together we make a great team. 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.
COYG
jack”.

Wilshere’s career never became what it should have been due to his ankles being made of tissue paper.

Still, he managed 302 games, 20 goals and 43 assists.

Wilshere also won two FA Cups with Arsenal and a Community Shield which is more than every Tottenham player combined for the last 31 years.

Previous articleMesut Ozil’s contract cancelled 2 years early by Fenerbahce
Next articleBarclays Women Super League fixtures announced
Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.