Should Jack Wilshire stay at Arsenal?

Jack Wilshire, celebrating his first goal of the last season.

Do any of you remember Jack Wilshire? You wouldn’t be blamed for not remembering him, at 24, he’s made only 169 club appearances, many as a substitute, and become far too acquainted with the Arsenal physio (who coincidentally, must be one of the busiest men in the world). After the same amount of times, Wayne Rooney had made 359 appearances, despite both starting at roughly the same age and spending most of their time at similarly big clubs.

It all started so well for the boy who began his career at Luton Town. Captain of the under-16’s team at Arsenal, Arsenal reserve and first team debuts within 6 months of each other, and the stereotypical ”saviour of English football” moniker, which we’ve all come to know and love. Arsene Wenger once described him as having ”Spanish style, but with an English heart”, and borderline racist connotations aside, this is an excellent description of the young man. As well-known for his passion as for his passing, he was considered by many to be the fulcrum of the future England team. Yet now, several years later, we find ourselves with someone who is moving dangerously close to being considered a ‘what if?’. Now, with news that he has put his mansion up for sale, and rumours of Manchester City being interested in using him to test out the plushness of their substitute bench, the central midfielder has reached a crossroads in his career; Does he move, and try to rekindle the flames of his career somewhere where he will not be as vital to the success of his club, or stay at the club where his career started and, to some degree, flourished?

A gunner from the age of 9, is it time to call it a day?
A gunner from the age of 9, is it time to call it a day?

Let’s weigh up the pros and cons.

If he goes to City, he gets lots and lots of money, and if there’s one thing 24-year-old men like, it’s lots and lots of money. However, one must consider that there’s only so much he can spend on trips to the barbers and tattoos, and presumably somewhere on his list of priorities comes the effect it will have on his career. English players don’t have the best record at Manchester City in recent years, see Scott Sinclair, Jack Rodwell, Micah Richards and Adam Johnson, and are usually there just to fill up the homegrown player quota. Time will tell whether Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph are going to play a big role, although Sterling has up to now, and Delph may now he’s come back from injury. The 24-year-old would by no means be the focal point of the team, but considering his past injuries, perhaps a stint of infrequent game time and genuine recuperation might be exactly what is needed. Arsene Wenger has claimed he could lead England to new heights at Euro 2016, but not if he only plays 5 games before then. Manchester City have a fairly good track record with regards to injuries, and holistically speaking, something needs to change in Wilshire’s career if he wants to be the star he’s always threatened to be.

English midfielders named Jack don't have the best track record at Manchester City.
English midfielders named Jack don’t have the best track record at Manchester City.

However, staying at Arsenal is not without its merits. The club currently sit top of the table, and with every other club around them having seemingly bigger issues to deal with than the North London, Manchester City included, there’s no reason this couldn’t be the start of something great at Arsenal. Were the Stevenage born player to stay there, he could potentially be part of a team of Champions, being managed by a man who has nurtured him for years, and who would like nothing more than to see him flourish into the attacking midfielder he always wanted him to be. Were he to finally string some game together (String, coincidentally, seems to be what most of his muscles are made of) his manager would take great delight in making full use of him, irrelevant of whatever form his other central midfielders were in, such is his love for him.

WIlshire: Spanish brain, English heart.
WIlshire: Spanish brain, English heart.

Jack Wilshire is an Arsenal player through and through, and it’s hard to imagine him leaving the club that he’s been at since he was 9, and supported most of his life. However, his career has stagnated in recent years, and a move be what is needed for his career to truly flourish. Whether Manchester City is the best club to go to is questionable, and an argument could be made that a move to a club like Everton, or perhaps even a club abroad, would be more sensible. It is however undeniable that, should he stay at Arsenal, there is little chance of anything changing in his career. The England international still has time left to make his career into a tremendous success. However England fans, Arsenal fans, and football fans in general, need to pray that whatever move he makes, if any, it helps him fulfill the chain around his neck that is ”The saviour of English football”.

By Matt

Matt is the owner and chief-editor of the Footy Blog, one of the UK's leading football news blogs.