Jack Wilshere has been one of the most talked about England players of the past decade.
He was tipped for big things after making his debut for Arsenal and England as a teenager, but has often struggled with injuries.
The 28-year-old midfielder, now at West Ham, is the latest guest on 606 Savage Social podcast – here are his best six answers.
What was the feeling like after the Barcelona win?
In 2011, aged 19, Wilshere starred in a famous 2-1 victory for Arsenal against Barcelona at Emirates Stadium.
“I sat in the jacuzzi in the dressing room with [former Arsenal goalkeeper] Wojciech Szczesny and remember him saying to me ‘we just beat Barcelona’.
“This was the team we grew up in digs watching – with [Lionel] Messi, David Villa, Pedro, Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta – and we deserved to beat them as well. It was an unreal feeling.
“After the game, we didn’t play that weekend, I remember Wojciech saying: ‘We just beat Barcelona. There is no way we are not going out.’
“Before the second leg, I remember everyone saying ‘Jack Wilshere, blah, blah, blah’, and Pep [Guardiola] hammered me.
“He said: Jack Wilshere is good butwe have loads of [players like] him in the B team.That put me down a little bit!”
Which player gave you the best advice at Arsenal?
“When he broke into the team, I was about 12 and I was in the academy thinking ‘I want to be like him’.
“When I broke into the team, he didn’t disappoint. He was brilliant. It sounds strange because now he is a good friend but I was almost star-struck by him.”
What did you think when Robin van Persie left for Manchester United in 2012?
“I was devastated.
“He had just scored 30 goals the season before. He was our captain.
“It felt like we were just about to challenge [for the title] again and all of a sudden he left to go to our biggest rivals.
“It was difficult to take.
“I was there when Fabregas left, [Samir] Nasri left, big players. If we had kept that team together I think we would have gone on to win the Premier League – and who knows from there?”
What was it like during and after the Iceland defeat?
The last of Wilshere’s 34 England caps came in the Euro 2016 last-16 defeat against Iceland, Roy Hodgson’s final match as England manager.
“I came on at half-time and we were dominating the ball but we weren’t good enough in the final third. We didn’t have a real chance.
“It was tough. As the game goes on, you think ‘this is going to be one of those games where we can’t score’.
“[At full-time] everyone went in to the dressing and there was swearing, people moaning and then it went silent. Then Roy and his staff announced that they were leaving and it was: ‘Oh God.’ It really was bad.
When did you know you had to leave Arsenal?
In 2018, after struggling with injuries, Wilshere left Arsenal following talks with new manager Unai Emery and joined West Ham.
“I sat down with my family and my wife. Arsene [Wenger] had announced he was leaving, and it felt like the right time to move on.
“I had done it before [joining Bournemouth on loan]. I knew there was life outside of Arsenal.
“I just though it was the right time to move on. Times were changing at Arsenal.
“I spoke with the new manager who said: ‘You can stay but you are not in my starting XI.’
“Arsene knew what I could do and trusted me. I knew if I got fit, I would play and I didn’t get that vibe off Emery. It was tough.”
Do you regret joining West Ham?
“No regrets. I have been a West Ham fan so it was a dream come true when I signed.
“It didn’t work out in the first year. I had a few differences with the manager [Manuel Pellegrini].
“I thought I had finally put them aside but then I went through the same thing again. There was a lack of communication and he didn’t listen to what I was trying to say.
“I was quite low. I picked up a groin injury and had to manage my training load but the old manager was like ‘if you don’t do training, you don’t play’.
“The point Moysey [West Ham manager David Moyes] came in was good for me, it was a lift. Now I feel good and hopefully when or if the season starts again, I will be ready to go.”