It has been ten years since the football world met Jack Wilshere. At the age of 19, the Englishman excelled on behalf of Arsenal in the Champions League against FC Barcelona: 2-1 victory.
In conversation with the English newspaper The Daily Mail, the now 29-year-old midfielder looks back at his lightning start to his career, which never became as splendid as many connoisseurs thought at the beginning of 2011. “I was at that moment on the tops of my ability. I had no problems with my body,” says the 34-fold international of England. “Everyone remembers that victory over Barcelona because we hit the best civil society in the last 20 years.”
“ When the draw came out, everyone thought we had no chance. I remember we were in the tunnel near Lionel Messi. I thought we wouldn‘t touch the ball for the first 20 minutes. I thought, “This is gonna be a long night.”
But nothing turned out to be less true. Due to a goal of David Villa, the Catalans still took the lead, but in the second half Arsenal turned the tide by hits from Robin van Persie and Andrey Arshavin. “In the initial stage I won a duel of Andres Iniesta. It gave everyone a boost. I often think back to that”, says the current footballer of Bournemouth.
Enough for a place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League was not the victory. In Camp Nou, thanks to a red card for Robin van Persie, Barcelona took the business straight: 3-1. Three months later, the team of Ibrahim Afellay, among others, won the Champions League at the expense of Manchester United: 3-1.
“Samir Nasri told me after that match that I took my game to had lifted a higher level. It was a great night, but I don’t know if it was my peak.”
Partly because of injuries Wilshere never became the star many had seen in him. “I lived my dream. I was 19 years old and played for Arsenal. We competed in Champions League, fought for the title. No one had to tell me to get some peace. I regret that I did not listen better to physiotherapists and learned more about my body.”