By Jim van Wijk, PA
Former Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere has announced his retirement.
Wilshere, 30, became the Gunners’ youngest league debutant when aged 16 and 256 days during 2008 after coming through the club’s academy.
The midfielder, who was hampered by a series of injuries, won the FA Cup twice in successive seasons with Arsenal in 2014 and 2015.
— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) July 8, 2022
He later joined Bournemouth on a season-long loan and then made a permanent switch to West Ham in the summer of 2018.
Wilshere returned to the Cherries on a short-term deal in January 2021 and also had a spell at Danish Superliga club AGF.
Wilshere, who made his first senior England appearance in 2010, won 34 caps and was part of the 2014 World Cup squad.
“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,” Wilshere said in his retirement announcement on Twitter.
“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.”
For 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 game against Barca to 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 goal against Norwich, and everything in between - we love you ❤️
A star on the pitch and a supporter off it. You lived the dream.
Congratulations on an incredible career, @JackWilshere 👊 https://t.co/Dm8Yqbsfyb pic.twitter.com/dpPLLqlb01
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) July 8, 2022
“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 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 thanks I have for the Boss, Arsene, Pat Rice and Boro Primorac,” Wilshere said.
“Without your belief, support and guidance from the very first day we met I wouldn’t have been able to become part of the Arsenal family. I’m forever grateful to you all.
“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.”
Wilshere indicated he could look to remain involved in the game going forwards.
“I have enjoyed every moment of my career and it has been the journey of a lifetime,” he said.
“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.”