Bukayo Saka has praised the influence of “inspiration” Jack Wilshere on his career after the former Arsenal midfielder opened up on his struggles to find a new club.
The 29-year-old is a free agent after Bournemouth chose not to extend his contract following a brief spell at the Vitality Stadium last season.
Wilshere was once being regarded as one of the most gifted players of his generation after becoming the club’s youngest-ever debutant at the age of 16.
He famously gave Barcelona players Xavi, Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta the runaround as Arsenal won at Camp Nou and won 34 caps for England, playing at the 2014 World Cup.
But injuries have blighted his career with persistent ankle problems robbing Wilshere of the most crucial years of his career and he has so far failed to convince a new club to take him on.
After hearing of Wilshere’s struggles to find work and that he had considered retirement, his fellow Arsenal academy graduate Saka reached out to offer a message of support.
Posting a picture of himself meeting Wilshere in the Arsenal dressing room, Saka wrote a touching message as a tribute to the ex-Arsenal midfielder.
“You showed all of us at Hale End it was possible to make it at Arsenal,” Saka wrote.
“No matter what remember how highly we all think of you!
“Forever an inspiration, you’ll be back @jackwilshere.”
He was not the only Arsenal star to show his gratitude to the younger clan of young Gunners on how to progress from the academy.
Joe Willock, who recently completed a £20m move to Newcastle United after leaving his boyhood club, posted a message of support on his Instagram stories.
“[You] inspired the whole of the Arsenal academy and thousands of kids like me @jackwilshere”, he added.
The Englishman recently lifted the lid on his regret at leaving the Gunners for West Ham, where he made only 19 appearances in three years.
Wilshere, who featured 17 times for Championship club Bournemouth in the second half of the 2020/21 campaign, may have found some luck after all.
His plea for a fresh start in England has been answered, with League One club Wigan Athletic offering a lifeline to the playmaker.
The Latics’ chairman Talal Al Hammad has offered to sign Wilshere on a short-term deal after reaching out to the former England international on Twitter.
”You are most welcome to join us,” he tweeted, adding the hashtag ‘#Believe’.
But he revealed that he could now seek a move abroad where his reputation for picking up injuries is somewhat not as well-documented.
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