Jack Wilshere made 197 appearances for Arsenal after breaking into the first team, however, despite being a a fan’s favourite, he was released from the club in 2018 after several injuries hindered his progress
Former Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has opened up on his struggles with social media throughout his career before asking for a club to take a chance on his this season.
Wilshere quickly rose to fame for the Gunners, dominating some of the best midfields in the world whilst still being a teenager.
However, injuries have been the main reason for the 29-year-old’s career never reached the heights that were first anticipated when he broke onto the scene.
His contract expired at AFC Bournemouth earlier this year and now he is a free agent, with no clubs coming forward to offer the ex-England international an opportunity to get his career.
When Wilshere rose to fame it was at a time when social media was becoming increasingly popular, and the midfielder admitted he struggled with the online critics.
Speaking on the Original Penguin X Campaign Against Living Miserably Under The Surface podcast , Wilshere said : “ When I was younger I let it affect me, but I was one of the first on social media when I first broke in, that’s sort of when Twitter started coming around and you know a lot of people used to say to me at the club ‘what are you doing on there?’, because they didn’t want you on. I didn’t really care, I was playing week in week out before I had any injuries.
“Then when I got injured, people started rumours on there as well, just mad stuff, and then someone retweets it and all of a sudden everyone started believing it! Especially now for young players because everything now is on social media, and I’ve played with players who would come in after a game and that’s the first thing they’re doing, looking on social media.
“You could think that you had a good game, and you did have a good game, but if you read one negative comment, that’s the that sticks in your head.
“People are entitled to their opinion but not being able to go back at them or respond to it. Just having that sort of label that ‘Jack’s injury prone’, ‘he’s picking up his money and that’s it’. All any footballer wants to do is play football.”
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After the Euro 2020 Euro Final, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka experienced abhorrent racial abuse from all over the world, but namely England, after missing in the penalty shootout. The cruel treatment the trio received came just a few months after footballer and football clubs led a social media boycott to protest for stricter regulations on online platforms to prevent abuse.
Wilshere continued: “There’s a lot of talk about at the moment, anyone can just go on to Instagram or Twitter and make an account and it’s alright them (social media companies) saying ‘they’ve sent some abuse, we’ll shut them down’, but then they can just go and start another account – it’s too easy. There needs to be something, it needs to be harder for these people to have accounts.”
After 17 years at Arsenal, Wilshere left the club and signed for West Ham a month later. However, he only made 16 league appearances in three years at the club and there was no interest for the Hammers to renew his contract.
Now on the hunt for his next club, the Stevenage-born playmaker was asked how tough it is being without a club, to which he replied: “You know if you’d have asked me even probably two years ago do I see myself in this position, I would’ve just said no chance and if you go back further than that when I was with Arsenal, I probably expected to still be playing for England and still playing for Arsenal.
“So no, I didn’t expect to be in this position, and there’s been times where it’s been tough mentally, especially when you have to train on your own you see teams go back to pre-season and you you’re still waiting and you’re getting nothing; it’s tough.
“I’ve had this opinion from a few clubs; ‘great player, but an injury waiting to happen’. I haven’t been injured since before lockdown, and it was not a serious injury, I’ve trained every day. When I was at Bournemouth I was available for every single game, so I feel like it’s a lazy answer because I can. ‘Give me a chance, let me prove myself to you then, show you that I’m fit.’
“I think I can play at the top level, the very top, I just want to be given the opportunity to show that I can do that, and I just want to be given the opportunity to prove to people that I’m fit.”