His ability on the ball in midfield made him a standout against others with less technical ability, but he never quite reached the heights of the game the way his admirers expected.
Constant injuries and an inability to show his best form on a regular basis limited Wilshere to 125 appearances across 10 seasons with the Gunners.
Sharing the full story, not just the headlines
Now he has related how his move to Arsenal initially came about—and admitted he had reservations about moving to the bigger club due to the distance from home he, and his father, would need to travel.
“I was playing for Luton and we were playing against Barnet and the ref was actually scouting for Arsenal,” Wilshere told the Lockdown Tactics podcast.
“He came up to my dad afterwards and told him he wanted me to come along. He didn’t even say it was a trial. He just wanted to sign me for Arsenal.
“It was strange because there must have been some sort of transfer window where that sort of thing could happen but, I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t want to go.
“I was 15 minutes from Luton to get to London every day. My dad with his job he would have to finish work early.”
Wilshere credits his father for not rushing him into a choice, even though it would affect his own workday, but eventually made the decision to join the north London club on the “last day”.
“My dad didn’t put any pressure on me but at the time, I didn’t know what to do. I said to my mate [at the park]: ‘I’m going to Arsenal’, and the rest is history.
“Fair play to my dad because we didn’t have much as a kid, he was a plumber.
“He used to finish work at 4pm, then we’d be out the door and it would take an hour to get to London from where I lived and that was like three times a week from when I was 10.”
Wilshere made his senior debut in 2008/09, and played 34 times for England between 2010 and 2016.
He moved to West Ham in 2018, but injury issues have continued to plague him.
Wilshere made just eight league appearances last season and had managed a further six this term, before a groin injury has seen him sidelined since October.