Mikel Arteta says Jack Wilshere has everything he needs to become a coach when he decides to hang up his playing boots.
Invited to train with the Gunners first team at London Colney following his summer release by Bournemouth, the 29-year-old midfielder has also stepped up his coaching badge studies under the watchful eye of Academy Manager Per Mertesacker.
Wilshere was spotted in the terraces at Rodney Parade as the club’s youngsters beat Newport County in the Papa John’s Trophy earlier in the week and he later confirmed he’s been set a number of tasks around the training ground by the BFG and is working with Kevin Betsy’s under-23s.
Ahead of Monday’s match with Crystal Palace, Arteta was asked about Wilshere’s future ambitions.
“He’s very interested at the moment [in becoming a coach],” said the Spaniard. “He’s trying to learn, he’s trying to finalise his badges. Then it will be his decision to see what he wants to do. He could be, for sure.
“It’s just down to him. He has everything that is needed to be the right coach; it’s just the willingness. He has the time and the passion to do it.”
Having burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old, Wilshere was tipped for a long and fruitful career in midfield for both Arsenal and England before a series of persistent injuries hampered his momentum. While his career at the Emirates was still full of high points, it was put to the boss that his story can serve as a warning to all players that life doesn’t always play out as planned.
“I don’t know, I think Jack spent a big part of his career at the club after coming through the Academy,” said Arteta. “He did it because he deserved to, he had the level and the consistency when his body allowed him, to establish himself here.
“Football changes every day, what you think is good today is tomorrow maybe not that good because somebody else can do it even better than you. You always have to be aware of that.”
For his part, Wilshere is enjoying being back at Arsenal, even if he finds it somewhat surreal that he’s already much older than some of the teenagers looking to follow in his footsteps. He’s also very thankful for Mertesacker’s input.
“It is good to be back – first of all at Arsenal but also just around players,” he said. “Before when I was training on my own and that brings its own difficulties so to be around top-quality players is nice.
“It is just until January. I’m just focused on getting as fit as I can, training as much as I can and being around good players again and learning from them and the manager and see where I am in January.
“I’ve been to a couple of under-23 games because I’m going to start helping them and coaching them and the best way to get to know players is to go and watch them play in games and learn about them.”
“He is a good guy, Per. He was a good team-mate and has settled into his new role really well and he is an organiser, he was on the pitch as well.
“He has set me some tasks, some teams to coach but it is what I want to do so I’m looking forward to it.
“It’s strange because I still feel young but I’ve trained with them a couple of times and I’m 12 years older than some of them, which is very strange.
“But I’m looking forward to helping them because I’ve walked in their footsteps, I’ve done that walk from the youth team to the reserves to the first-team and I’ll help them in any way I can.”