Jack Wilshere named Arsenal U18 manager in return to boyhood club after retirement

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 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Jack Wilshere has completed a sensational return to Arsenal after being appointed at the club’s under-18 head coach.

Wilshere has been hired after retiring from professional football last week at the age of 30.

Standard Sport revealed how the former midfielder had held talks with Arsenal over a role in their academy towards the end of last month.

Wilshere met with academy manager Per Mertesacker and those successful talks have resulted in him taking charge of the under-18s.

The 30-year-old spent large parts of last season training at Arsenal and working with academy players at the club.

Wilshere greatly enjoyed that time and he revealed back in May that had lit the fire in him to move into coaching.

“I didn’t ever reach my full potential as a player — and everyone knows that,” said Wilshere.

“I don’t think I will ever accept it until I’ve reached that as a coach. It’s a difficult thing to accept and that’s why I still have a big, burning desire in me to be successful in the game.

“I just feel like there’s something still in me that wants to get to a high level. And that probably won’t ever be as a player again. So if I can do that as a coach, why not?

“When I went back to Arsenal I was coaching every day with the under-18s and 23s, I loved every minute of it. I really enjoyed being back on the pitch and coaching.”

Arsenal have also appointed Mehmet Ali as their new head coach of the under-21 side.

Ali joined Arsenal as their under-23s assistant coach back in January and he will now take on the role of head coach for their under-21s as well as the Gunners’ Professional Development Phase lead.

Max Porter will be joining Ali’s team as the under-21s assistant coach, following his promotion where he was previously assistant coach to the under-18s.

Adam Birchall will join Wilshere as Arsenal’s new under-18s assistant coach alongside his new role as under-17s head coach, moving from his previous position as the club’s under-16s head coach.

Wilshere said: “It’s a huge honour to have this role. It’s no secret that I love this club. I love what we stand for and a big part of my life was spent in this academy, some of the best days of my life. This is a big opportunity for me and I’m ready. I’m hungry and can’t wait to help these young players thrive and be the best they can be on and off the pitch.”

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