Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Mertesacker hails Wilshere’s conversion to coach

Per Mertesacker has praised Jack Wilshere for the way he’s tackled his transition from player to coach and says the former England international has brought “good energy” to the club.

Teammates for seven years at Arsenal, Wilshere was inspired to take his coaching badges in 2017 when the German was gearing up to become head of the club’s academy.

Despite parting ways for a few years, the pair remained close and when Wilshere was weighing up whether or not to continue his playing career, Mertesacker reached out with a chance to gain coaching experience with the club’s youngsters.

From there, things moved quickly. Wilshere hung up his boots last summer and was immediately installed as the head of the under-18s. While learning on the job hasn’t always been easy, the 31-year-old could end his first season in charge with a high-profile trophy if his young Gunners beat West Ham United in the final of the FA Youth Cup.

Ahead of tomorrow’s showpiece match at Emirates Stadium, Mertesacker lifted the lid on how Wilshere ended up back at Arsenal.

“During his interview, I was sitting there, Mikel was sitting there, Edu was sitting there. He needs to present to us all and that informs our next move. I was praying that Jack would turn up for the interview and be himself. That was a moment when the truth comes.

“It was brilliant to see him presenting himself, what he stands for, what he wants to be like, what coach he wants to be, how he wants to play. That needs to be somewhat aligned with what Mikel wants to see.

“I was just pretty impressed how Jack and Mehmet Ali [head coach of the under-21s] have presented themselves in front of senior people that could have said, ‘Not good enough, we want to have people from the outside coming in’. That could have easily happened.

“So I’m really pleased with his [Jack’s] first year. His ambition naturally is one day to go somewhere and coach a first team, but I’m not letting him at the moment. I think it’s important to be ambitious, but I think he respects the process so much more now.”

Arsenal haven’t won the FA Youth Cup since Wilshere himself was in Steve Bould’s lineup in 2008/09. The former England international has overseen a swashbuckling run to the final that underlines both the potential of the next generation of players and his own progress as a coach.

Mertesacker admits he wasn’t sure how Wilshere would cope, particularly with the unseen side of the role.

“Head coach is a big job,” noted the German. “It’s not just about working on the grass and being a role model and an inspiration. It’s about how you deal with staff, with all the emails, with how you delegate.

“He’s made a huge impact. Struggling, learning moments in his first year, was amazing. But to go on an FA Youth Cup run like he did, who could have done that? I think he has done amazing in his transition.

“We will have tough times together. But in terms of his first year in a head coaching position and the staff that have worked around him relentlessly for him and with him, I think he has created a good energy.”


Tickets for tomorrow’s FA Youth Cup final are available to purchase now, priced at just £5 for adults and £2 for concessions. Click here for more info.

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Super super jack super super jack


I am really happy for him – a top quality midfielder whose career was sadly cut short by what seemed injury after injury – but who could forget that amazing goal v Norwich City?
He can impart his enthusiasm and experience of the game to the next Jack Wilshere and who knows what good things could happen. Good times ahead.


Love the way Per talks, he has some of that Wenger-ish mix of razor-sharp intelligence and insight. Too early to judge about Jack but it seems early signs are good and definitely would love to see him have the fabulous top level coaching career to make up for the one he should’ve had as a player.

Though I’d rather it not be for us anytime soon because we’re hopefully gonna be so successful under Arteta that it would be unthinkable to let him go.

Hopeful Gooner

Super chuffed to bits for him. He’s one of our own, bleeds red-and-white, and it was really disappointing how persistent injuries robbed him of the opportunity of being an even bigger legend for us. Hopefully his boys will do us proud tomorrow and lift that trophy for the first time since super Jack lifted it himself!


Arsene who recruited and inspired Per to become accustomed to a role he didn’t know he could do and learn on the job, has now done exactly the same for Jack.

This is the identity of the club. This is why we love it. Because they are all our own


Wow, reading this story, I can only imagine what if I get an interview invitation to work for the Arsenal, perhaps not as head coaches, but let say as their Accounting Supervisor or Finance Assistant Manager etc, must have been a dream of a lifetime, sitting in an office room, facing Per at the left, Mikel at the right, Edu in the middle, and Vinai standing in front of office, explaining the org chart of the Arsenal, asking me “do you have any question for us?” in which I immediately will say Yes mister Vinai, the question is for Mikel,… Read more »


I still remember him always trying to start a fight on the pitch against the bigger boys maybe it was to show he belonged and won’t be bullied or maybe he just had a complex whatever it was he seemed like a hot head back then I even remember the night before a game he got a fight on the street with some people and there were camera footage of him basically pushing a man bigger than him and I started thinking if this kid doesn’t cut this out his career is going to suffer well his career suffered for… Read more »


Well done Jack.
Per, you must never leave ❤️


I’m so happy we found a home for Jack. A career that should have lit up the pitch was destroyed by injuries.


If his tactics and subs in the game tonight are anything to go by he needs to go back to school. A total capitulation while he stood and watched it unravel, no changes and subbed off the best player who was trying to make things happen. Clueless and very disappointing.

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