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Jack Wilshere interview: ‘I taught the Arsenal way… now I teach it to the next generation’


Wilshere is now manager at the 31-and-under-18 club after retiring as a player last year, but regularly gets “flashbacks” to his days at the Arsenal academy as he looks to help the next generation follow in his footsteps. bid to help.


“I see what they’re doing and I know what they’re doing,” he tells standard game, “I talk to the players a lot, individually and collectively, about what it takes.

“You just look at my career, it’s not always going to be plain sailing. You’re going to have moments, injuries, where you have to deal with it.”

I’ve always been brought up with ‘the Arsenal way’: dominating the pitch, trying and creating overloads and killing teams with the ball

Wilshere is one of the most famous graduates of Arsenal’s academy, so much so that he has been immortalized on one of eight new artworks outside the Emirates Stadium.

He made his senior debut at the age of 16 and played 197 times for Arsenal between 2008 and 2016, earning 34 caps for England, winning the PFA Young Player of the Year in 2011 and the club in 2013 and 2014. won back-to-back FA Cups with


But injuries plagued Wilshere throughout his career and he retired last July after a four-month spell at Danish club Aarhus.

The decision to hang up his boots, Wilshere admits, was “really difficult” at the time. But he now looks at it differently and says he “fell in love” with coaching last year working with Arsenal’s youth teams.

“I probably already made up my mind (about leaving),” says Wilshere. “I still loved playing the game, but I wasn’t fully committed to playing. I was more committed to coaching.


“I had to make that decision because I was a player who was always fully committed, and that’s just how I played. If I didn’t have that, I didn’t have that edge. Coaching.”

Jack Wilshere during his early Arsenal days.

, Arsenal FC via Getty Images

The prospect of working at Arsenal made Wilshere’s decision to call time on his playing career easier.


Before retiring, he spoke to academy manager and former teammate Per Mertesacker, who persuaded him to step into coaching by overseeing the under-18 side.

“He was really supportive and more of a friend to me than a boss,” says Wilshere. “It’s a lifestyle change, your whole life completely changes.

“When you’re a player, it’s the best job in the world. You come in at 9 in the morning, you finish at 2 in the afternoon, you come home. As a coach it’s completely different. “

Wilshere is now consumed by his work and admits he struggles to switch off. He usually leaves home around 6.30 am, sometimes listening to a coaching podcast on the drive to the training ground, and he doesn’t return home until 12 hours later. Each training session is recorded, allowing Wilshere and his staff to study the behavior and traits of the players.

He is still establishing his coaching philosophy, but clearly playing under Arsene Wenger has affected him.

“I’ve always been brought up with the ‘Arsenal Way’, which is to dominate the ball, try and create overload on the pitch and kill teams with the ball,” says Wilshere.

“That’s really my football philosophy, but it’s always evolving. You have to be able to adapt.”

It’s something Wilshere learned from Mikel Arteta, and he insists the Arsenal manager is the one who really inspired him to take up coaching.

“I love their passion,” he says. “I grew up with Arsene and Eddie (Howe), and they are completely different coaches.

“Arsène used to say: ‘It’s okay, the opposition can do whatever they want. As long as we do what we do, we play our game, we’ll win’. It’s a bit arrogant, but it’s in the form of arrogance. I never came with Arsene. It was confidence.

“But I’ve never really seen anyone quite like Mikael, his intensity, his passion and the way he cares.”

The challenge now for Wilshere is to develop players who could one day play in the senior side. He says the first team and academy are more aligned than ever before, making it an easier path.

Jack Wilshere at the unveiling of the new Emirates Stadium artwork.

, Arsenal FC via Getty Images

“Mikael and his staff let us play the game how we see it, but with the same details he would use,” says Wilshere. “We have to do this for the players.

“If I have a player who plays right-back on Saturday, and then on Monday morning Mikel says if we can keep him for training, and he’s doing something different than Mikel wants, we can give the player Not helping in the best way.”

And that’s all Wilshere wants to do – help Arsenal’s future stars. He is learning every day and recently picked the brain of Cesc Fabregas when he visited the training ground as part of his own coaching development.

“It was really good to have him in the squad for a few days and work with the players,” says Wilshere. “I always looked up to him for his football mind.”

One suspects Arsenal’s youngsters feel the same way about Wilshere.

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