Jack Wilshere has been named Arsenal’s new Under-18 head coach.
The former England international announced his retirement from playing on Friday and soon emerged as the standout candidate to replace Dan Micciche, who recently joined Crawley Town.
Wilshere is joined on the coaching staff by Mehmet Ali, who takes over as the new head coach of the Under-21 side having joined as an assistant in January.
Wilshere said: “It’s a huge honour to have this role. It’s no secret that I love this club. I love what we stand for and a big part of my life was spent in this academy, some of the best days of my life. This is a big opportunity for me and I’m ready. I’m hungry and can’t wait to help these young players thrive and be the best they can be on and off the pitch.
“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. I can’t wait to get started and help these young players thrive with a great team around me.”
Academy manager Per Mertesacker added: “This is great news for everyone involved in our academy. We have made a number of really positive changes in the last few weeks and I believe that we have the best possible people here to build on the progress that we’ve made in recent years.
“Everyone knows how passionate Jack is about Arsenal. He understands what we want to achieve here and he really impressed us last year. He knows exactly what it takes to progress through the academy into first-team football. Mehmet also really impressed us in the last six months and we knew that he was the right person to take on the Under-21s role.”