Jack Wilshere has revealed how Arsene Wenger told him he was no longer wanted at Arsenal.
The Frenchman broke the bombshell news to Wilshere at the start of the season.Despite having been at Arsenal since the age of nine – making his debut aged just 16 – Wenger said he was happy to let his injury-plagued midfield star go.
But Wilshere refused to quit his boyhood club. He fought his way back to full fitness from a broken ankle, and has even captained Arsenal during his 31 appearances this season – already two more than in all of last season when he was on loan at Bournemouth.
Recalling the moment Wenger appeared to have given up on him, Wilshere, told how his manager came up to him while he was on an exercise bike in the Arsenal gym.
“The manager said I could leave if I wanted to,” said Wilshere. “It was an honest conversation. We have known each other long enough where we can have that relationship where we are honest with each other.
“It was boiling up for a while because everybody knew I had a year left on my deal and I had been out on loan, got injured, and wasn’t really in his plans.
“He said, ‘I am going to be honest with you and at the moment we are not going to be offering you a contact, so if you can get a contract somewhere else, you can go’.
“Obviously, I was not happy with that, but at the same time I was happy he was being honest. He gave the opportunity with three or four weeks left in the transfer window.
“But I did not find anything that I wanted and at the same time I was not really fit, so I decided that I wanted to stay and build up my fitness.
“He also said if I did stay I had an opportunity to fight for my place, and if I performed well in the Carabao Cup and Europa League, I had a chance.
“I was in the position that I did not know what was going to happen in the coming season.
“I chose to stay and fight and I was always confident in my ability. But at the end of the day it is down to the manager and whether he puts you in the team or not.
“Thankfully, he has and I have stayed in there.
“I have always had the confidence in myself and felt that if I got in there I could put in the performances that would give me the opportunity to be back here with England.”
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