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:
- The most unusual Arsenal Xmas present of all time. Making the Arsenal: available from Amazon.co.uk but for a signed copy dedicated to whoever you want just order from the publishers (follow the link) and add details of the dedication wanted to your order.
- Arsenal History: Arsenal’s origins – currently telling the story of the end of Woolwich Arsenal
- Untold Arsenal on Facebook here
- Untold Arsenal Index: silly stuff, serious stuff, and Billy the Dog
- Arsenal Worldwide: supporting Arsenal from outside the UK
- Arsenal Independent Supporters Association show your support, be part of changing the club
- Why is it becoming so difficult to find a sponsor for new football stadium?
- Corruption flares up again in Italy, as Premier League figures don’t look too clever
- How much does a club have to spend on transfers to get a trophy?
- Does the team that is top after 14 games usually go on to win the league?
- How the Taliban infiltrated the World Cup and used it to maintain its war on women