Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere has completed a loan move to Premier League club AFC Bournemouth. The 24-year-old reportedly demanded a move away from the Gunners before the close of the transfer window in a bid to rediscover the form that saw him tipped as the ‘future of England’. Wilshere has struggled for fitness at Arsenal enduring lengthy spells on the treatment table for the Gunners. He was said to have been talked into joining the Cherries by manager Eddie Howe. Premier League rivals, Crystal Palace and west Ham had also signified interest in the player but could not convince the combative midfielder. Italian sides, Roma and AC Milan were also reported to have shown an interest.
Wilshere joined the Arsenal Academy in October 2001 at the age of nine, after a short spell in the Luton Town youth programme. He rose through the ranks, and at the age of 15 was named the captain of the under-16s; he also made a few appearances for the Under-18s. In the summer of 2007, Wilshere featured in the Champions Youth Cup and upon his return to England, Arsenal Academy coach Steve Bould gave him a start for the Under-18s first game against the Chelsea Under-18 team. He scored his first goal against Aston Villa Under-18s in a 4–1 win. He then scored a hat-trick against Watford Under-18s, helping his side to an Academy Group A title. He finished his first full season with the Under-18s with 13 goals in 18 appearances, most of which coming at age 15.
In February 2008, he made his debut for Arsenal Reserves aged 16 against Reading, and scored Arsenal’s only goal of the match, which ended in a draw. He scored a memorable goal against West Ham reserves in March, picking the ball up and curling a shot into the top left corner under the watching eye of Arsène Wenger. He managed to record two goals and two assists in just three appearances for the reserves at the end of the 2007–08 season. He played in the under-16s victory in the Ferroli Cup, being named as player of the tournament. He played an important role in Arsenal’s 2009 FA Youth Cup win, scoring goals in the semi final and producing a man-of-the-match display in the first leg of the final against Liverpool, assisting two goals and scoring himself.