The former Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere has announced his retirement as a player at the age of 30 and will be confirmed next week as the Arsenal Under-18s head coach.
Wilshere, who made 13 Danish league appearances for Aarhus last season, the most recent in May, also played for Bolton, Bournemouth and West Ham.
He won 34 caps and was part of England’s squad at the 2014 World Cup, and an impressive career would have been even more successful but for injuries. Wilshere came through Arsenal’s academy and made almost 200 appearances for the club.
He will work with Arsenal Under-18s alongside Adam Birchall and Julian Gray, two other former players who started their careers at the club.
Wilshere wrote in a lengthy message on Twitter: “Today I am announcing my retirement from playing professional football: It has been an unbelievable journey filled with so many incredible moments and I feel privileged to have experienced all that I did during my career. From being the little boy kicking a ball around in the garden to captaining my beloved Arsenal and playing for my country at a World Cup. I have lived my dream.
“In truth it has been difficult to accept that my career has been slipping away in recent times due to reasons outside of my control whilst feeling that I have still had so much to give. Having played at the very highest level I have always held such huge ambitions within the game and if I am truthful I did not envisage being in this position at times. However, having had time to reflect and talk with those closest with me I know that now is the right time and despite the difficult moments I look back on my career with great pride at what I have achieved.”
Wilshere became Arsenal’s youngest league debutant aged 16 years and 256 days in 2008 and won two FA Cups with the club in 2014 and 2015. He left for West Ham in 2018 and last year admitted regrets over his departure in an interview with the Guardian. “At the time it felt right, and probably in hindsight it wasn’t right but it is what it is,” he said.
Wilshere dropped into the Championship with Bournemouth before heading to Denmark and paid tribute to Arsène Wenger and the former Arsenal manager’s backroom staff in his retirement message.
“Words will never do justice to the love and thanks I have for the Boss, Arsène, Pat Rice and Boro Primorac,” Wilshere wrote. “Without your belief, support and guidance from the very first day we met I wouldn’t have been able to become part of the Arsenal family. I’m forever grateful to you all.”