Former Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere has announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 30.
The news comes just over 24 hours after news broke that he had left Danish club AGF after less than five months and was now “considering his next step” in his career.
Wilshere became the Gunners’ youngest league debutant when he was 16 years and 256 days during 2008 after coming through the club’s Academy.
The midfielder, hampered by a series of injuries, won the FA Cup twice in successive seasons with Arsenal in 2014 and 2015, before joining Bournemouth and then West Ham.
Wilshere returned to the Cherries on a short-term deal in January 2021 and also spent time at Danish Super League club AGF.
After making his first senior England appearance in 2010, Wilshere made 34 appearances and was part of the 2014 World Cup squad.
“It’s been an amazing journey filled with so many amazing moments and I feel privileged to have experienced everything I’ve done during my career,” Wilshere said in his retirement announcement on Twitter.
“From being the little boy kicking a ball in the garden to being the captain of my beloved Arsenal and playing for my country in a World Cup, I have lived my dream.
“The truth is that it has been difficult to accept that my career has been falling apart in recent times for reasons beyond my control and to feel that I still have a lot to give.
“Having played at the highest level, I’ve always had big ambitions within the game and, to be honest, I didn’t imagine being in this position at times.
The five best moments of Wilshere’s career
- That night against Barcelona – Arsenal faced one of the best Barcelona teams of all time, with a 19-year-old Wilshere tasked with taking on Sergio Busquets, Andrés Iniesta and Xavi. Against nimble tiki taka football, Wilshere displayed courage, trickery and the same level of technical astuteness as Arsene Wenger’s side won 2-1 on one of the best nights in recent memory.
- Goal of the Season vs. Norwich – Wilshere didn’t score many throughout his career, but when he did it was special. His best mark in the Premier League was a beautiful one-touch team goal against Norwich in 2013, which saw him combine wonderfully with Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud to win goal of the season, an award he won a year later for a crushing effort against West Bromwich Albion.
- dominating brazil – Wilshere made his England debut in 2010, but had to wait three years to become a Three Lions regular. He was voted man of the match against Brazil in 2013 to announce himself on the international stage, playing an important role in England’s first game in a 2-1 win, the Three Lions’ first win over the Seleção in almost a quarter of a year. century. The biggest hint that he would be the future of England.
- Helping Arsenal win the FA Cup – It’s the second half of extra time in the 2014 FA Cup Final and Arsenal are tied 2-2 against Hull. Wilshere has entered the brief interval at Wembley and, in four minutes, plays a part in the winning goal. Wilshere’s incisive pass fell into the path of Yaya Sanogo, who passed the ball to Olivier Giroud. The French striker’s movement found Aaron Ramsey in the area, who pushed home the winner. Wilshere’s intervention helped Arsenal end a nine-year run without a trophy, and the midfielder helped the Gunners to the same trophy a year later, also from the bench.
- Saving England vs Slovenia – The Three Lions were losing 1-0 to Slovenia in a Euro 2016 qualifier in June 2015, when Wilshere took the match from the neck. The midfielder hit two epic long-range shots to put England back in front, with Roy Hodgson’s side winning the vital match 3-2.
“However, having had time to reflect and speak with those closest to me, I know that now is the right time, and despite the difficult times, I look back on my career with great pride at what I have achieved. .
“Playing at the highest level with some of the best players in the world, winning the FA Cup, captaining my club and representing my country was beyond my wildest dreams as a little boy growing up in Hitchin.
“I feel very lucky to have had the career that I have had, but none of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for the love and support of so many people.”
Wilshere paid tribute to former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and his staff for giving the young midfielder a chance.
“Words will never do justice to the love and appreciation I have for Boss, Arsene, Pat Rice and Boro Primorac,” said Wilshere.
“Without his belief, support and guidance from the first day we met, I would not have been able to become part of the Arsenal family. I am eternally grateful to all of you.”
“To the best supporters on the planet, all of you Arsenal fans, thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Playing for all of you has been a privilege.
Jack Wilshere’s injury nightmare
- Ankle injury: November 2009 – 12 days – 4 games lost
- Ankle sprain: July 2011 – 56 days – 10 missed games
- Ankle surgery: September 2011 – 127 days – 25 games lost
- Fatigue fracture: February 2012 – 104 days – 19 games lost
- Knee surgery: May 2012 – 125 days – 6 games lost
- Small crack in the foot: March 2014 – 57 days – 11 games lost
- Ankle injury: November 2014 – 90 days – 19 missed games
- Capillary fissure in the fibula: August 2015 – 247 days – 47 games lost
- Hairline crack on fibula: April 2017 – 112 days – 1 game lost
- Ankle injury: September 2018 – 82 days – 11 missed games
- Ankle surgery: December 2018 – 138 days – 22 games lost
- Groin injury: October 2019 – 221 days – 22 missed games
- Calf injury: September 2020 – 11 days – 4 missed games
“You have always made me feel supported and I hope I have made you proud to represent your club. I will never forget how you always supported me and I will always be a Gooner.”
Wilshere indicated that he might continue to be involved in the game in the future.
“I have enjoyed every moment of my career and it has been the ride of a lifetime,” he said.
“Now is the right time to close this chapter, but I still have a lot to give to the game and I’m excited about what the future holds.”
Former England goalkeeper Joe Hart responded to the same post on Instagram, writing: “Best player mate. Much love and luck for the future.”
Robbie Keane replied, “Good luck mate for the future,” while Declan Rice added, “Wilsh, I love you bro. It’s an honor to meet you and play with you!”