Jack Wilshere is training with Arsenal after accepting an invitation from Mikel Arteta to use the club’s London Colney facilities while he looks for a new club and undertakes his coaching badges.
The 29-year-old revealed last month that he was struggling for motivation after being released by Bournemouth in the summer and finding himself without the structure of formal team sessions.
“We are in conversations with Jack to understand his needs and what he’s looking for,” Arteta said three weeks ago.
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Wilshere teased his return while working as a pundit for Sky Sports during their coverage of last weekend’s Brighton game. Reflecting on the north London derby win, he mentioned, “The training ground is buzzing.”
The midfielder was also spotted in the stands last night as he watched Arsenal’s under-23s take on their Bournemouth counterparts in the Premier League Cup at the Vitality Stadium.
On the decision to welcome Wilshere back to London Colney, Arteta told Arsenal.com: “What you should believe is that we want to help Jack prepare for his next stage, physically, mentally.
“He wants to do his coaching badges again and we are prepared to fulfil all the needs that he wants. That is basically the idea and it is no further than that.
“I am very happy to have him back. We had a conversation with Jack and understand the needs that he has, the period that he is going through and I think everyone at the club agreed it was the right moment to help him.
“We sat down with him and we listened to what he wanted to do and what stage he is and we are prepared to do anything we can to help him.
“He is going to be training sometimes with us, he is going to be around the place, he is going to be continuing his coaching badges that he is very interested in, try to get him fit, try to get his experiences across to our players, our young players, our academy and I think it is great influence to have around.”
The boss also highlighted what he’s hoping Wilshere will get out of his return.
“That physically he can keep himself fit, because obviously we know the issues that injuries have caused him in his career,” he said.
“The other one is that he feels love for the club, that he feels attached and with the same regard that we have for him.
“When you have been away for many years, maybe you can lose that sense or can question yourself but there is no question: we all love him, we’re happy to have him around and he is a big part of our history.”
While Arteta has played down suggestions that his former teammate could earn himself a first team contract, it’s great to see the club have brought him (and that sticky-out-tongue of his) back into the fold.
It’s important to look after your own.