Former England midfielder Jack Wilshere has announced his retirement from football, with the 30-year-old set to join Arsenal as an Under-18 coach.
Wilshere burst onto the scene for the Gunners during the 2010/11 season following a promising loan spell with Bolton Wanderers.
He would go on to make 125 Premier League appearances for Arsenal and also establish himself as a regular for England – he collected 34 caps overall – before injuries began to take their toll on his career.
Underwhelming spells at Bournemouth (twice) and West Ham followed, before he made a surprise move to Aarhus in Denmark in 2022.
Earlier this week it was confirmed that he would be released following the expiration of his contract, and Wilshere has now confirmed that he is hanging up his boots.
“Today I am announcing my retirement from playing professional football,” a four-panel statement on social media began.
“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.”
Wilshere then went onto thank his family friends and various coaches that have helped to shape his career.
He also singled out the Arsenal faithful for special praise, writing: “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.”
He added: “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.”
As per David Ornstein, Wilshere will now move into coaching with Arsenal’s Under-18 side. His report states that Wilshere stood out as an outstanding candidate during the recruitment process to replace Dan Micciche, who recently joined Crawley Town.