The Story Of Jack Wilshere; The phenomenon that never became

On that cold Saturday afternoon at Ewood Park, 13th September 2008, in the 84th minute, the 3rd official raised the substitution board, Robin Van Persie was to come off the pitch after scoring the opener, which proved to be the winner, against Blackburn Rovers. It was not the customary striker-for-defender substitution when leading 4-0, it also wasn't a familiar first team substitute. It, instead, was a teenager from the academy who had impressed all and sundry with his displays at youth level. Jack Garry Andrew Wilshere was his name, he was coming on for his Professional debut.
Exactly 10 days later, he scored his debut goal against Sheffield United in the EFL Cup, and also went on to register an assist in his next game in that competition. This were to be his only goal contributions for all of that season but one thing was certain, the boy wonder had made a huge impression in the eyes of many.

The 09/10 season began and Wilshere was the youngster to watch. Things didn't go so smoothly though. Predictably though, at just 17, he found game time hard to come by, especially with young midfield maestro, Cesc Fabregas in the team. When he had the chance, he always played very well, you could see the rawness in his game, but so could you see the generational talent in the wonderkid. The January transfer window of 2010 rolled around and Arsenal would loan Wilshere to Bolton Wanderers To Help him get game time and aid his development. He was decent, but that was about that. But who'd expect more from a 17yr old who was playing his first full season of professional football in one of the most physically demanding leagues in the world? He, just like in the previous season, registered a solitary goal and assist, but this time in the Premier League.

The 10/11 season was seen by many as the season Wilshere would finaly make the break through to being a major piece in the midfield jigsaw. It proved relatively true, Wilshere was consistently putting in solid performances, most notably that magical night against Barcelona where he completely dominated two of the best midfielders in the world at the time; Xavier Hernández and Andreas Iniesta. By that time, it was becoming increasingly inevitable that, midfield revelation, Cesc Fabregas was on his way out at the end of the season, and Jack Wilshere was seen as the man to take over the mantle as the leading figure in Arsenal's midfield for the decade to come. Arsenal had scoured the world for midfielders who could really pass the ball and also keep hold of it, in essence, Wenger was looking for an answer to Pep Guardiola's Xavi and Iniesta. Jack Wilshere seemed to be the answer to all of that.
The summer of 2011, though, proved to be a very decisive summer in Wilshere's career. On the 31st day of July 2011, a club statement was released, stating that Wilshere had sprained his ankle, fast forward the odd 8years later and we can rightly say that Wilshere had sprained his.... Career. He basically missed the whole season, as series of injuries followed that season, most notably a 'fatigue fracture'(whatever that means) as stated in another club statement, this, though, was months after he had undergone another ankle surgery. In total he had missed 412 days and 60 games.

Unfortunately for Wilshere, and the club, he never really recovered fully as he kept battling with countless injuries at a ridiculously high rate. It is testament to his bad injury record that at 27 years of age and 11years as a professional, he only has 289 appearances in all competitions. When he managed to stay fit, Wilshere was unable to rediscover the touch that made him such a special talent in his teens. After many injury blighted years at Arsenal, the club decided to loan him out to Bournemouth in the summer of 2017, even there, he still couldn't find his feet due to injuries, he missed a total of 20 games and with his contract expiring at the end of the season, Arsenal decided against renewing it, and who could blame them? He joined West Ham as a free agent, and injuries have still abounded. Wilshere, indeed was a special talent, all we can do now is wonder what could have been, if... Just if, the injuries never blighted his career..What a talent Wilshere was! A potential phenomenon... One which never became, though.
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