Arsenal have confirmed that Jack Wilshere will lead Arsenal’s under-18s and Mehmet Ali will take over as head coach of the club’s under-21s.
The appointments come five weeks after Dan Micciche and Kevin Betsy, who previously held the roles, departed for a new challenge at Crawley Town.
Wilshere takes up the new position just days after ending of his playing career at the age of 30.
While the former England international has spent time coaching Arsenal’s youngsters in the last 12 months, the responsibility of overseeing the development of players on the cusp of going professional is a big one.
To be clear, despite a very close relationship with Mertesacker, who heads up the Academy, he’s been given the job on merit after impressing at the interview stage. He will be assisted by Adam Birchall, who previously worked with the club’s under-16s.
“It’s a huge honour to have this role,” Wilshere told Arsenal.com.
“It’s no secret that I love this club. I love what we stand for and a big part of my life was spent in this academy, some of the best days of my life. This is a big opportunity for me and I’m ready. I’m hungry and can’t wait to help these young players thrive and be the best they can be on and off the pitch.
“It’s a special feeling to be part of the Arsenal family. It never left me, and even though I moved on for a few years, my heart was always still at Arsenal. I can’t wait to get started and help these young players thrive with a great team around me.”
Ali joined Arsenal from Reading in January to assist Kevin Betsy and following a ‘positive six months’ inherits a role that recently belonged to the likes of Freddie Ljungberg and Steve Bould.
On accepting the position, he said: “It’s a great honour and privilege to be a part of this club and lead our Under-21s.
“I’ve already had six good months at the club, so I’ve got a sound understanding of the players. I’m now really excited and looking forward to continue working with the group and playing my part in developing strong young Gunners.”
Ali, who also assumes the role of Professional Development Phase lead, will be assisted by Max Porter who has been working with the under-18s.
Having had to fill two important roles in double-quick time, Mertesacker is optimistic about the new era.
“This is great news for everyone involved in our academy,” he said. “We have made a number of really positive changes in the last few weeks and I believe that we have the best possible people here to build on the progress that we’ve made in recent years.”
On a related note, Arsenal and Adidas will tomorrow launch a new six-part documentary about Hale End. You can watch the trailer below.
Here is to a successful and exciting managerial career. Go on super Jack.
Having been deprived of fulfilling his enormous potential his is left thirsty and with something to prove. If he can find motivation on mentoring others to fly at the skies he was supposed to be he will be an excellent coach I reckon.
The one that still gets me is the game against United where Jack had recovered from a terrible injury and was starting to find his groove when United player, midfield player, flew on the edge of our area and went straight through his ankle, if I am right didn’t even get yellow. Fletcher I think it was. Fecking animal. That was it Jack was never the same.
I remember it. It was almost midnight in India and I was seething with rage. We also lost that game 2-1, as far as I remember.
Ah yes, he went on to have a brilliant career didn’t he, just like Dan Jones who ruined Diaby’s
Ain’t no redemption arc like an Arsenal redemption arc.
It really does warm the heart. I love this club.
Jack Wilshere “Hero-Zero-Hero” coming soon on Amazon Prime
Would be a great sight seeing Jack in the dugout of Arsenal again. Welcome home son.
Welcome home Jack.
Good news. Glad to have Jack back.
You go back Jack do it again.
“Right lads. Lesson One. What do we think of Tottenham…?”
Jack the Reaper of talents. Welcome home.
Great news as far as I am concerned, welcome back Jack…he is a thoroughbred gooner, a great talent,was a great player if not for his injury problems, so best news for me if he wants to come back home to his footballing family, who knows what he might become in the future for Arsenal, Guardiola started exactly the same way for Barca, look at him now🙂
Great news! I had the pleasure of meeting Jack and Per last November, such top lads! So good to have jack back, too 👍👍
I really thought he was going to be a surprise Flamini signing, but the injuries sadly took their toll.
Best of luck Jack! Always remind the younglings what we really think of the Spuds!
I hindsight I think his move to aahus was to tick a box ‘played abroad’ in his playing career before hanging up his boots.
Would be nice to believe arsenal knew the plan 18 months ago too!
Don’t see his credentials, I know he’s an Arsenal man but still
What’s the difference between his and Per’s? Per’s doing a stirling job and no reason why Jack won’t too
He’s earned his coaching badges, so he had the appropriate qualifications, and the article states that he impressed in the interview. Being qualified and giving a good interview are kind of the two big things when it comes to getting a job. What ‘credentials’ would you expect to see? He’s going to be managing the under 18s, but the first team.
Welcome back Jack even though you never left.
Think it’s safe to say all our lads will truly understand what it means to get a result against that lot.
All the best Jack!
Good luck Jack! It’s good to have you back.
Love this for him. Hope he has a long and fulfilling career in coaching/management. His love for the club is palpable and will rub off on any youngsters he’s involved with in the academy.
Would be lovely to see Jack do well in this role. Welcome back, Jack!
Jack doesn’t look happy..