Jack Wilshere put pen to paper today to a sign a new contract that ensures his future is with Arsenal.
It is absolutely fantastic news. His success has been the story of the season and his quality, enthusiasm and will to learn will make him a great player for both Arsenal and England for years to come.
At just 18 years old it is arguable that his form for the club has established him, along with captain Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song, as part of our first-choice midfield. With competition coming from the likes of Denilson, Samir Nasri, Abou Diaby and Aaron Ramsey, this is no mean feat.
Yet despite his surprising impact on the first team this season, Wilshere’s head remains in the right place, his feet firmly on the ground.
“Arsenal Football Club has been like a second home for me and my family since I was nine years old. To be offered a new contract means everything to me. At this point in my career, when I’m only 18 years old and still learning so much about the game and myself, 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.
“I’ve got a long way to go before I can become the player I dream of becoming and I’m sure I’ll keep making the odd mistake, but it is a massive help for me having a special manager like Arsène Wenger and so many quality team-mates and the unbelievable Arsenal fans around me. I believe there is a lot more to come from me.
I’ve been at the Club for almost ten years already, so I would like to thank everyone that has been part of getting me this far, especially people like Liam Brady, Roy Massey and all his staff at the Hale End Academy. Also Neil Banfield, Steve Bould, Academy Coach Steve Leonard, Academy Scout Bob Arber, Assistant Head of Youth Development David Court, all the backroom staff, Arsène Wenger, all my team-mates and, of course, my family.”
Although his speech sounds like something you would hear at an Academy Awards, and he probably got some help from his mum or dad to write it (ha!), it reveals a very special character. The media might be trying to paint him as some sort of clogger after his dodgy tackle against Birmingham but it’s clear that Wilshere has the right mentality to make it as a top-level footballer: he is respectful, determined and like most Arsenal players, sincerely grateful for the opportunity he has to play football for a living.
He’s right too: Arsenal is the perfect club for him. We play the type of football that will get the most out of his game and allow him the time and space to develop. He is perfectly suited to our pass-and-move game and his real quality is in combining his technical ability with the more English traits of grittiness and a never-say-die attitude.
While there is still the small matter of securing Cesc Fabregas’ future at the club (as well as the “stalling” Wojciech Szczesny) Wilshere’s signing is a piece of fantastic, if expected, news.
In a brief round-up of the other Arsenal news floating around the blogosphere the manager has stated that Aaron Ramsey’s return is still a month or so away. Meanwhile Nicklas Bendtner and Theo Walcott are expected to start in tomorrow night’s Champions League game against Shakhtar Donetsk, with captain Fabregas set to miss the tie through injury.
More on that tomorrow.
Have yours say on Jack Wilshere’s contract by leaving a comment.