Former Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere retired from playing at the age of 30 on Friday after an injury-disrupted career.
Wilshere was the youngest player to make his Arsenal debut at 16 years and 256 days in 2008 after coming through the club’s academy.
“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,” he said in a statement. “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.”
Wilshere made the first of 34 England appearances in 2010 and he was part of the squad at the 2014 World Cup where Roy Hodgson’s team was eliminated in the group stage.
I’ve lived my dream. Thank you all ❤️ pic.twitter.com/rB5gnyyUlK
— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) July 8, 2022
“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,” Wilshere said. “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 won the FA Cup with Arsenal in 2014 and 2015. He later joined Bournemouth on a season-long loan and then made a permanent switch to West Ham in the summer of 2018. He returned to Bournemouth on a short-term deal in January 2021 and also had a spell at Danish club AGF.
“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.”