Former Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has spoken candidly about his current situation as he struggles to find a club.
The 29-year-old has been plagued by injuries throughout his career, despite showing so much promise when he first broke through at Arsenal as a youngster.
Wilshere has since had unsuccessful spells at West Ham and Bournemouth, but it now seems there aren’t any teams willing to take a gamble on him due to his poor fitness record.
It’s a shame to see this happen to such a talented footballer, who has admitted in an interview with The Athletic that he probably made a big mistake leaving Arsenal when he did.
“Honestly, I should have never left,” the former England international said. “That’s nothing against West Ham — it could have been anyone — but I shouldn’t have left Arsenal.
“I had a conversation with Arsene (Wenger) when I came back from Bournemouth. He said, ‘Look, you can leave. You’re not going to get a new contract here’. (But) Knowing Arsene the way I knew him and how much he rated me as a footballer, I knew if I got myself fit there were lots of games and I could get myself into that team.
“I wish I had that same mentality when I sat down with Emery and he said, ‘Look, there’s a contract on the table but you’re not in my starting XI’. I remember walking out angry, because I thought I was going to play — I proved myself the year before.
“I probably made a few rash decisions. I rang my agent and said, ‘That’s it, we need to leave’. I should have taken a few days, calmed down and thought to myself again, ‘I look around this midfield and back myself to get in’.”
Many Arsenal fans will no doubt be feeling great regret that Wilshere didn’t fight for his place and make a comeback for the club, and they’ll now surely be hoping he gets the chance to turn things around for himself soon.
Wilshere admits that he’s had some slightly painful chats about football with his son, as he struggles to explain why no one wants to sign him.
“My kids are at an age where they understand,” he added. “Especially Archie, who’s nine. He’s actually having conversations with me, saying, ‘What about the MLS?’ or ‘Why aren’t you playing in La Liga?’
“He loves football. He knows everything about football. And it is difficult to explain to him. He’ll say to me, ‘How come no club wants you?’ I don’t know. But how do I explain that to him?
“They’ve got friends at school and you know what kids can be like, they can be quite brutal. ‘Why is your dad not working? Is he not good enough? Is he not good at football?’ Yeah, that’s tough.
“I’ve got two younger kids (Siena and Jack Jnr) who have never really seen me play football. When I go to training in the morning on my own and I kiss them and say, ‘I’m going training’, they don’t actually know what I do. They’re probably thinking, ‘Where’s he going? What is his job?’
“The older two remember the Arsenal days, they remember watching me play for England. In a way, it’s quite nice to have that — they can see it on YouTube and when I go out, people recognise me.
“The most difficult part is trying to explain when they ask, ‘Well, why don’t you just sign for a club in England?’ I’m like, ‘Well, no one wants me’, and they can’t really get their head around it.”