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Jack is thanking some untold hero’s

By Walter Broeckx

“Arsenal Football Club is delighted to announce that Jack Wilshere  has signed a new long-term contract with the Club.”

This appeared on Arsenal.com this afternoon. And this is really something that makes me very happy. Not because I have said it for a few years now that he was going to be a great player for Arsenal. But must admit it feels good to have predicted it in my country when nobody had heard of him a few years back.

But this is a great moment for Arsenal and for Wilshere because he will be one of the most important players in our club history if all goes right and if he will develop in to the player he can be. We all know that Wilshere joined Arsenal when he was 9 years old and so he really is the first of the long term project youth. He is the first real Wenger baby one could say.

When our manager set up the youth project it was a long work and a difficult road we had to walk. And I know that players like Cesc, Walcott, Song, Bendtner and others can be seen as the first players from the project youth that have made the grade in to the first team as they have been here from the age of 16.

But Wilshere is totally different from them. As the others had a big part and maybe the most important part of their training at Arsenal Jack has had it all with us. Now getting players at the age of 9 is a very difficult thing. You can see (if you have the eye to see it) that there is talent. But between 9 and 18 is such a big gap in live and with so many things that can go wrong it is very difficult to know if a player will really make it or not.

Maybe there have been players even more talented than Jack in there but who have not made it because of a problem with their character. An injury at young age or because of other interests in live. Or young lads who start walking in the wrong direction at a certain point, have or get bad friends and get lost for football. This is something we don’t know but it can happen. Any youth coordinator can give you names of such young talents that have ended up at the wrong side of the road.

But Jack hasn’t so far and the has the talent and the football brains and the desire to make it at Arsenal.  It all has to be right from the start to the finish and for the moment it looks like Jack has got what it takes.

The fact that Jack has thanked a lot of people who have helped him down the road so far is a good thing and shows that he realises that he hasn’t done it on his own. He realises the help he has got from his various coaches and from Arsenal. And I think that it is good that their names are mentioned on Arsenal.com as it will give those people a boost to work further in what is one of the most difficult and underappreciated jobs in football.

Because it is Wenger and the board that have decided to work that way but it those mostly unknown persons who are working with the kids day in day out that almost never get the recognition. We find it normal that Jack does it as he has got the talent. We applaud the manager because he was so brave to look in the future and to give the kid his chance. But we never give credit to those people who have been training him all those years.

So I really find it very nice that Wilshere and Arsenal.com come out and give names which I (and I think most of us) never heard before. Names like and I take this from Arsenal.com and leave out the names I know: “ Roy Massey and all his staff at the Hale End Academy. Also  Academy Coach Steve Leonard, Academy Scout Bob Arber, Assistant Head of Youth Development David Court, all the backroom staff,  all my team-mates and, of course, my family.”

I don’t think for the moment most of us realize the importance of this day. We once again show that our club has class, we once again show that Wilshere is not only a class act on the field but also someone who is thankful for all those people who have helped him on the road so far.

But maybe most of all Wilshere is the first kid that has made it from the start to the first team since project youth has started all that time ago. And his commitment to Arsenal is something that will be the benchmark for all those who will follow his footsteps in the following years. He will be their example and he will be showing the path they have to follow. The better Wilshere will become the more those other talented youth players will want to follow his example, they will be wanting to follow in his footsteps.

And it is also great to see Wilshere talk about Wenger in terms as “but it is a massive help for me having a special manager like Arsène Wenger” and “this is the perfect club, the perfect team-mates, the perfect fans, the perfect backroom staff and most importantly, the perfect manager to help continue that”.

He calls Wenger a special manager and the perfect manager to help him further on the road to becoming the player he always wanted to become. Imagine if the AAA would have driven Wenger out, would we ever have seen the Wilshere we have seen so far? Would Wilshere walk further on the path Wenger thinks he can walk? Would it been the same without Wenger at Arsenal? Imagine a Mourinho at Arsenal since last season, would we have seen Wilshere in the first team? Or any other manager would have taken the risk?

So let us be grateful and thankful for the talent that Wilshere has received and that he is showing us on the field. But let us also be grateful and thankful for the fact that Wenger has him in his hands and is working with him and I think it will be still some 3 or 4 years before we see the totally finished product that Wilshere will be. Now isn’t that a thought that makes us wetting our pants? Well it sure does it  me.

And for those who have wetted their pants and have changed it they could also read this:

18 comments to Jack is thanking some untold hero’s

  • Adam

    Now for me Walter this throws up a little alarm in my head. Purely for the reason that little Jack will hold a special place in many gooners hearts (mine also). Yes he has been at the club since the age of tadpole, But he is not local, He is from stevenage herts, whole different county, although Arsenals training ground is in herts, everyone knows Arsenal is in Islington. Im originally from Hampstead but now live in herts. My point is that, if we are going to hold a player in such high regard lets not get carried away and put them on a pedestal they have yet to earn. And lets be honest and not refer to little jack as a local talent as i have heard on occassions.

    P.S. dont mean to burst your bubble but the lad is still spotted having a kick around with his mates, But then why would you stop an 18 year old having fun with his mates.

  • Gooner Gal

    Yes, I smiled when I read Jack’s touching words. Project Youth is alive and well and I hope there will be many more future stars like him in the coming years. This situation will give encouragement to other academy players, that it is possible to breakthrough into the first team.

  • Mick

    Adam, for goodness sake let us not split hairs. In this day and age when we scout and develop players at a young age from all round the world Hertfordshire can surely be classed as local, I am certainly not alarmed, what a curious reaction from you. Anyway to quote Arsene “I don,t look at a players passport”.
    Let us just enjoy the experience and privilege of watching a young gifted player emerge as the first of many home grown stars of the future. I really do not care if he is from Herts or Outer Mongolia!

  • Adam

    Mick it was scouts/coaches not affiliated with arsenal that had Jack in his really early years we took him from Luton Town FC. What i did not make clear in my original comment was that I dont consider Little Jack local to Islington but will treat him as a local hero as will many others. so if we can do that for Jack why not the rest of the squad. P.s. sorry for being protective of my birth area after all its why im a gooner as all my family, maybe i should have been born in stevenage and supported my local side of man utd going by your logic.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Nice one Walter – let us hope young Jack lives up to his undeniable potential to become an Arsenal great and not end up as another Pennant or Bently.
    His maturity and performances this season is for me the highlight so far.I felt the team missed him in the last few games and am looking forward to many more delightful contributions from the lad.

  • Ham

    Its amazing how ppl like Adam always manage to see dark spots all over the sun.

  • naveen

    lol.. i m not from england so i not too familiar with the districts .. but a credit is due to the arsenal staff and everyones that has been related to the development of this young boy.. so i dont see the problem in calling him a homegrown talent even if he is not from the district //right??
    cheers gooners!

  • jonny gunner

    Adam,
    you need to get a life mate-you really are looking a bit too deeply into this.If Arsenal chose only players from the local area for our team,then we’d be a bit on the light side don’t you think ?
    I wasn’t born in or around Islington/Camden/Highbury but I went to my first match when I was 6.I’m 45 now,and may well have supported my club well before you were born?Just because you’re from the area doesn’t give you sole rights to supporting it.
    Trust me mate-if Arsenal F.C. relied totally on the ‘local’ residents to fill its ground every week for its revenue,there wouldn’t be an Arsenal F.C.the way we know it today.
    I reckon you should get out a bit more me old fruit,stop stamping your feet as much – you’re the type of bloke to start telling others to ‘go and support Man U instead’.It ain’t your place sunshine.

  • BE6_2

    Stevenage where he was born is 33 miles max from islington that’s close enough for me. God i love The Arsenal !!! Lets win something this year.

  • gulp

    @ Adam, he is so so so so so much more local than bendtner, than Cesc than Theo(hes from down south no?) than everybody els in the team basically. He is more english than the english itself, he is what the locan maniacs has cried for over time. And you are uhnappy cos hes not your neighbour???Get over yourself!

    As you rightly point out yourself. Arsenal training grould is in herts, this is the hearbeat of the club, where they mould and create and shape. The stadium is only the paradestage stage. Its only a place to show off. THe real stuff happends at Hale End. The majority of time is spent at Hale End for all the players, that is where they train, eat socialize(if PL players do that) NOT at Emirates.

    So i would argue Wilshire is very much a local lad. He has grown up close to our heart, close to where we shape our culture and imprent our traditions in young minds. He may not have grown up close to where the stadium is. But that is not imoprtant. You do not become an Arsenal player at the Emirates, you become an Arsenal player at Hale End, thats where you go through the ranks, thats where you get coaching and that is where you learn what it means to be an Arsenal player.

  • walter

    I must admit that for me as an outsider England is England.
    And sometimes its strange when you write an article and you think you have made clear what you wanted to say and then someone reads something completly differen in the article.
    My main point was that Jack will be the example for the rest of the academy (and regardless from where the players come in the world) and that it was nice to hear him say thanks to all those people who work at our academy and who never are mentioned but who are so very very important in the development of our youth players.
    But that would have been a very short article. 😉 Or I do have to make myself more clear in the future. :-/

  • LRV

    Walter, old mate, your point is crystal clear enough. Leave whoever choose not to see it to their blind spot.

    Well done mate.

  • Arsenal_stevie

    Look these rubbish about is he local lad or not, nonsense i cant believe were even talking about this. Anyway jonny gunner, it is posible to pick players form local areas and be sucesful, i mean Athletic Bilbao only play basque players and are the 3rd most sucessfull team in the history of spain. Though in the last 20 years the flexibilty in the rules about foreigners per team has allowed for a greater influx of talent from aboard and left them behind. However jonny i no that is probably not the point you were making. Right now as much as im delighted jack just signed a new contract the only slight problem i have is the amount a kid soo young is getting paid, i mean £50,000-a-week is rediculos, it just shows what state football as allowed itself to get into. Younger footballers just seem to care about cash, cars, girls this hole glammour of being someone, remember pennat? Jack doesn’t seem to be that type of lad but it is a problem within our game, probably why one of the reasons the english game not bringing enough young lads through, they think they have made it before they have. Though if we dont give him a big contract im sure there would be many takers that would. Thats great!

  • FinnGooner

    great artickle Walter. also like our captain Cesc has been tweeting (twice in couple of months) “people hear what they want” even here it might be “people read what they want”. So it is not your fault that some of the readers read things different way than you meant. on side note as sad it is not to see Cesc play tommorrow I rather miss him 1-2 matches than rest of the year.
    I do think Jack is local (he is near from London and for me as foreing it’s enough), then again it doesn’t matter where he is from or who he supported as kid but since he has been in Arsenal about half of his life he is now complete Arsenal-player.
    I loved how Arsene refused to tell how long this long-term contract is, even the interviewer did try hard…

  • C4

    I’ve always been curious about the academy, I’d love to spend a few days watching them train. I’m shocked at what Lord Wenger & co. have achieved with chaps so young, and sooo many of them. Just look at how they compete comfortably with Premier League 1st teams in the Carling Cup. It’s a hell of an achievement, this youth system. Don’t let the AAA and the xenophobic media fool you in their attempts to undermine Lord Wenger. What he and his staff have achieved borders on witchcraft… And the magical Jack is solid evidence of that.

  • RedGooner

    Adam I think you are really and truly nit picking and are in the wrong place for that most of us fell in love with places or sports at 9 years of age and never changed.

    Hell most of cant remeber a lot before 9 I bet Jack considers himself a local/one of the family and thats all that matters really.

  • Adam

    sorry walter did not mean to monopolise a valid and well written article.

  • walter

    No, Adam I don’t think you need to apologise.
    I think I can understand your point and that you felt the need to point out that he is not a local Islington boy.