Player of the day: Jack Wilshere
Today’s Player of the Day is the Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere. Wilshere broke on to the Premier League scene in 2008 at the age of just 16 and his impressive performances for both Bolton and Arsenal, earned the young midfielder his senior England debut. Wilshere is a player known for his movement, vision, passing and combination play and has been compared to England legend Paul Gascoigne for his attributes as an all round midfielder.
Born on the 1st January 1992, Wilshere came up through Arsenal’s youth academy and impressed from an early age. He made his first team debut in 2008, at the age of 16, as was Arsenal’s youngest ever league debutant. In his short career thus far Wilshere has earned a number of accolades including the PFA Young Player of the Year, PFA Team of the Year and Arsenal’s Player of the Season at the end of the 2010-11 season.
Wilshere joined the Arsenal Academy in October 2001 at the age of nine. He rose through the ranks, and at the age of 15 was named captain of the under-16’s, he also made a few appearances for the Under 18s’. In February 2008, he made his debut for Arsenal Reserves aged 16 against Reading and his performances that season caught the eye of first team manager Arsene Wenger.
In July 2008, Wilshere was selected in the first team for the pre-season friendlies and made his first team debut against Barnet as a half time substitute for Henri Lansbury. Arsene Wenger gave Wilshere a placed in Arsenal’s first team for the 2008-09 season and he was given the number 19 shirt.
He made his competitive debut in a Premier League match against Blackburn Rovers in September 2008 coming on for Robin Van Persie as a substitute and in doing so became Arsenal’s youngest ever league debutant, a record previously held by Cesc Fabregas. In preparation for the 2009-10 season, Wilshere scored twice and was twice awarded Man of the Match as Arsenal regained the friendly tournament, the Emirates Cup. On 29th January 2010, he joined Premier League side Bolton Wanderers on loan until the end of the season. His performances for Bolton earned Wilshere many plaudits and he returned to Arsenal at the start of the 2010-11 season, very much as a key first team player for the gunners.
The 2010-11 season was a year of breakthrough for Wilshere. He was an integral part of an Arsenal squad and received several individual awards including PFA Young Player of the Year for his displays. He was highly praised for his highly influential display against Barcelona in Arsenal’s 2-1 victory, he completed 93.5% of his passes overall with manager Wenger describing his performance as “outstanding.” At the end of the season he was voted as Arsenal’s Player of the Season, ahead of the likes of Fabregas, Van Persie and Nasri.
During the summer leading into the 2011-12 season, Wilshere suffered a stress fracture ankle injury during a pre-season friendly against New York Red Bulls. The injury proved a persistent problem throughout the rest of Arsenal’s pre-season and as a result Wilshere underwent successful surgery and was initially ruled out for four to five months. However in January 2012 he suffered a recurrence of the ankle injury and was ruled out for the remainder of the season, he also missed out on playing at Euro 2012 and the Olympics.
Despite being rumoured to be back to full fitness, Wilshere looks set to miss the start of the 2012-13 season but his eventual return is bound to be extremely influential in Arsenal’s push for the Premier League title.
Wilshere made his international debut on 11th August 2010, coming on for Steven Gerrard against Hungary, making him the 10th youngest player to ever play for the English national team, and has gone on to make 5 appearances for his country.
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