Jack Wilshere loves Arsenal, fans love him with great goals, Barcelona masterclass and genuine hatred for Tottenham


Jack Wilshere’s short career is a tragic story of dissatisfaction, but also a story to celebrate.

Arsenal fans haven’t had many club legends to celebrate since the ‘Invinicble’ era of 2004 – and yet Wilshere can count himself alongside Thierry Henry and Dennis Begkamp as one of the most popular players in the game. Gunners history.

Wilshere spent 17 years at Arsenal after coming through the club’s academy

This despite the announcement on Friday that his once so promising career was unfortunately cut short at the age of 30.

Injuries robbed Arsenal fans of the full potential of one of their most talented academy products – and, in truth, the end was in sight for Wilshere long before he left the Gunners in 2018.

Nonetheless, his flashes of genius and deep connection to the people of North London mean fans will always look back on his career with fond memories.

And a public disdain for Tottenham’s arch-rivals probably helps.

Jack Wilshere loves Arsenal, fans love him with great goals, Barcelona masterclass and genuine hatred for Tottenham
Wilshere is now a regular contributor on talkSPORT
talkSPORT


Arsenal’s child prodigy

Wilshere remains the youngest player to play for Arsenal in the Premier League after making his debut aged 16 years and 256 days in 2008.

Dizzying heights were expected from the silky-smooth midfielder, who wowed fans and teammates alike with his astounding ability from an early age.

Reflecting on his early days of training with the first team, Arsenal legend Ray Parlor recently recalled: “There were two players who stood out for me, Fabregas was one and then Wilshere.

“He was just a young boy but he wasn’t phased by Thierry Henry or [Robert] Pires or that kind of guy, so I thought, ‘This kid is going to be very, very good’.

“The thing is, when you’re 14, playing with such good players, you’re going to be nervous but he wasn’t, he looked like he was out of phase at 14.

“Straight away you knew he had a lot of talent, he had a lot to learn, to improve as a player, and can you handle the big occasion, what he could.

“I thought, ‘This kid is going to go all the way’, which he did, in the end he was on the side [at 16].”

Jack Wilshere loves Arsenal, fans love him with great goals, Barcelona masterclass and genuine hatred for Tottenham
Features of Rex

Wislhere turned heads and opponents as a teenager[/caption]

Barça star tower

February 16, 2011 was the night Wilshere truly introduced himself to world football with a sensational display against Barcelona in a thrilling Champions League showdown at the Emirates.

Wilshere, then just 19, led the show for Arsenal in the middle of the park as late goals from Robin van Persie and Andrey Arshavin sealed a memorable 2-1 home win.

He produced a composed and determined performance that belied his tender years – and even joked that Xavi and Andres Iniesta were “in his pocket” last year.

Speaking to Drive about the game, Wilshere said: “I’ve played pretty much every game up to this. Played in the group stages and in the Premier League, but it was definitely a step towards all of that.

“The midfielders were always close to each other, drawing you in and Messi would understand.

“I remember there was a minute in the game and I slipped, I think it was on Iniesta, and I won it and then I passed Busquets.

“I just felt the crowd go up and raised my game from there.”

Jack Wilshere loves Arsenal, fans love him with great goals, Barcelona masterclass and genuine hatred for Tottenham
Wilshere’s performance against Barcelona in 2011 is still talked about to this day
News Group Newspapers Ltd

Goals of the season

Arsene Wenger adored Wilshere – so it’s fitting that he was involved in Arsenal manager’s finest goal.

Seventeen years after Wenger landed in London in 1996, ‘Wengerball’ culminated in one of the biggest team goals in the game against Norwich in 2013.

Kieran Gibbs carried the ball safely into Norwich’s half, offloading it at Santi Cazorla on the left touchline, and the Spaniard quickly decided it was time to get the party started.

Going inside to find Wilshere, the ball was quickly passed to him, which he sent instantly to Giroud on the edge of the box.

The World Cup winner decided to have fun with the pass, using his delicious touch to send it to the side of his boot and back to Wilshere for the first time.

Wilshere then decided to improve on the Frenchman’s extraordinary technique, lifting his left boot as he was on the run, watching the ball where it came from.

Not to be beaten, Giroud opted to keep the outside of his shoe warm, sending the return through a crowd of four yellow men, for Wilshere to deftly guide his career goal.

So good that it even made its way onto adult content websites.

His goal against West Brom in May 2015 wasn’t bad either. In fact, Wilshere became the first player in Premier League history to win the Goal of the Season twice in a row.

Hate Tottenham

What does Wilshere think of Tottenham?

From the day he led Arsenal’s famous chant from an open-top bus to his recent appearances on talkSPORT, those feelings have endured.

But Gunners fans will never forget the moment he really cemented his place in club folklore during the 2015 FA Cup victory parade.

In front of thousands of people, Wilshere grabbed the microphone and asked the crowd what they thought of Tottenham, before having his rather predictable take on ‘s***’.

It led to a chorus of “It happened again” – and Wilshere was officially crowned a legend.

1. Jack Wilshere and Tottenham
Wilshere was disciplined by the Football Association but probably didn’t care

FA Cup winner

Along with his immense popularity and cult hero status, Wilshere is also retiring with a few trophies to his name.

The 30-year-old was part of the Arsenal squad that ended their long trophy drought with back-to-back FA Cup triumphs in 2014 and 2015.

His career highlights also saw him make it to the 2014 World Cup with England and earn 34 caps for his country.

Although his career was cut short early, most would be content with his accomplishments in the game.

Jack Wilshere loves Arsenal, fans love him with great goals, Barcelona masterclass and genuine hatred for Tottenham
Wilshere has two trophies to his name
Getty

Hate Tottenham

Did we mention Wilshere hates Tottenham?

We at talkSPORT decided to put that to the test last year.

A presumably pretty hot Wilshere wears a lot of different football shirts, all at the same time, in the studio.

Why? Because it was Football Shirt Friday and Wilshere was there for the cause.

To hammer home the message, Wilshere attempted to set a new Guinness World Record for most football shirts worn at once.

Little did he know it, talkSPORT host Andy Goldstein decided to throw a massive rooster-shaped wrench into the works.

The presenter convinced Wilshere that the only way to break the record was to don a Spurs shirt, which the boyhood Gooner adamantly refused to do.

The line was drawn at Tottenham. And his position was so firm that it was even enough to make Goldstein give in.

As the presenter later revealed, it was just a prank.

Jack Wilshere loves Arsenal, fans love him with great goals, Barcelona masterclass and genuine hatred for Tottenham
There was an intense confrontation in the studio when Wilshere was asked to wear a Tottenham shirt
talkSPORT

Arsenal from start to finish

Wilshere’s biggest regret is leaving Arsenal, despite spending years on the sidelines before his eventual move to West Ham in 2018.

A loan spell at Bournemouth wasn’t enough to win Unai Emery favor after Wenger left, but Wilshere still wants him to try harder.

“Honestly, I should never have left,” he told The Athletic in 2021.

Wilshere is a rare breed who seems more committed to a single club than the game itself – and we want that in the best way possible.

His return to Arsenal while training without a club and his new role as Under-18 manager, which is expected to be announced soon, show how much the Gunners mean to him.

Fans appreciate that stuff.

Jack Wilshere loves Arsenal, fans love him with great goals, Barcelona masterclass and genuine hatred for Tottenham
There’s a reason fans love Wilshere
Getty

Hate Tottenham

You get the point. But just in case…

Earlier this month, when asked what he would do if Spurs ever won the Premier League title, Wilshere gave the perfect answer.

“I’m moving to Australia if that ever happens!”

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