Wilshere still talks a good game but his best days are long gone

The former Hammers midfielder can no longer be the player that he thinks he is

His departure was inevitable but it’s been interesting to see Jack Wilshere has given more details from his West Ham exit.

Wilshere’s contract was terminated by mutual consent on transfer deadline day with the club happy to get his £100k-a-week contract off the books. 

At the time of writing, he has yet to find a new club, despite rumoured interest from West Bromwich Albion and Rangers. 

At 28, Wilshere feels he could still get first-team football at a top club, he’s tweeted: ‘I’m still only 28 and feel fit, strong and ready to play, I am still incredibly hungry, ambitious and desperate to play football and achieve success.’

Meanwhile, West Ham were freed from Wilshere’s burdensome £100,000-a-week contract, which still had a year to run. This signing didn’t make football sense at the time, but continued the Two Davids’ long-running ambition to revive the waning careers of former English prospects. 

Speaking to BBC Sport, Wilshere addressed the frustrations experienced during his time at West Ham, and said he didn’t want to face another season on the sidelines:

‘I missed a lot through injury but always before, when I was fit at Arsenal, I played,’ he said. ‘People will say what they want and footballers get paid well, but there is nothing more draining and saps your confidence more than when you know you are not going to play, that no matter what you do in training, or what the other players are doing, even if you lose 3-0, you are not going to get an opportunity. I didn’t want to be around that and in that environment.’

Wilshere managed to recover from a groin injury and felt ready to be selected for West Ham’s post-lockdown games, but found himself out of contention in Moyes’ successful post-lockdown system. 

Much like high-profile figures, Felipe Anderson and Sébastien Haller, Wilshere found himself on the outside looking in and decided to leave to seek out first-team football. 

‘Last season, when I came back after lockdown, having worked so hard to get back to a good level of fitness and was training every day, it just didn’t feel like my opportunity was ever going to come. And, of course, it didn’t.

‘I didn’t like it but we were in the middle of a relegation battle so I understood the team had to come first. But when we came back for pre-season, it was the same again. I thought everyone would be given a fresh chance and a clean slate to impress but it never happened for me.’

Wilshere managed 90 minutes in this season’s EFL Cup 5-1 win against Hull City in September, which turned out to be his last appearance for the club. 

Due to the very early promise of Wilshere’s career and his poor luck with injuries, clubs like West Ham and Bournemouth took chances on the player in the hopes of reviving his stalling career. 

While the experiment didn’t work at West Ham, Wilshere remains faithful for the future. 

‘People forget I am 28. Everyone thinks I am 30 or 31, probably because I started when I was 16. That was 12 years ago, which is a long time in football.

‘In my head I have been fit for ages but at the same time, I haven’t played games. People probably have forgotten. 

‘But there is a difference between fully fit and playing games. I have been fully fit for a while but without games you don’t get up to speed or get the minutes you need. 

‘In a year’s time, I would like to have 20-25 games behind me at a new club and be looking forward to the future. I feel I have much more to give. I just want to be given the opportunity to show it.’ 

People often reference Andy Carroll’s infamous six-year contract as Gold and Sullivan’s worst piece of business. 

But giving £100k to a player like Wilshere, who hadn’t completed a 30-game season since 2011, was peak lunacy. The club were hoping that Wilshere would recapture the form that made him one of England’s brightest prospects, but were left bitterly disappointed.

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