‘Lived my dream’: Former Arsenal captain retires at only 30.
Former Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere has retired at the age of just 30.
"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."
Wilshere became Arsenal's youngest league debutant when he featured aged 16 and 256 days in 2008 after graduating from the club's youth academy.
Widely predicted to emerge as a key figure for both Arsenal and England, Wilshere made a bright start to his career.
But his progress was hampered by a series of injuries and concerns about his off-field lifestyle.
Wilshere made his first England appearance in 2010, winning 34 caps and featuring at the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016.
Although Wilshere won the FA Cup with Arsenal in 2014 and 2015, he never quite fulfilled his potential in 197 appearances for the Gunners.
He spent a season on loan at Bournemouth and made a permanent switch to West Ham in 2018.
Wilshere returned to Bournemouth on a short-term deal in January 2021 and also had a spell at Danish Superliga club AGF before deciding to hang up his boots on Friday.
"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," Wilshere wrote on Twitter.
"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 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 paid tribute to former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and his staff for giving him his chance in the Premier League.
"Words will never do justice to the love and thanks I have for the Boss, Arsene, Pat Rice and Boro Primorac," Wilshere said.