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09/10/2019 - 21:20 BST

Arsene Wenger Always Backed Me – Jack Wilshere

 




Ex-Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has explained how former Gunners manager Arsene Wenger always backed him and 'made him'.

It was on 13th September 2008 that Wenger handed Wilshere his competitive debut for Arsenal in a Premier League match against Blackburn Rovers, when the Englishman came on as an 84th-minute substitute for Robin van Persie.  


 



Dogged by injuries, Wilshere could only go on to make a total of 197 appearances for the Gunners during his ten years at the club.

However, the now West Ham man remains indebted to Wenger, who he feels always had his back throughout his ups and downs at the Emirates Stadium.
 


Wilshere has explained how, after he had a good pre-season with Arsenal, the 69-year-old manager gave him opportunities and special treatment, letting him train with the first team regularly.



The Englishman also described how Wenger was always honest with him and instilled confidence in him when he was down, which Wilshere feels is a big thing to get from a coach.

"Arsene made me. He gave me the opportunity at a young age. At that age it was difficult. I made a few bad decisions on and off the pitch, but he always stuck by me", Wilshere told The Athletic.
 


"Young players were given a chance in pre-season and I took my chance, and from then on I was sort of given special treatment.

"I trained with the first team nearly ever day.

"I wasn’t anywhere near (being picked for) the first team but just that experience of being with them and learning from them was amazing.


"He was always honest with me. If he left me out once, I wouldn’t say anything, but if it kept happening I could go and knock on his door.

"One thing that was big with him was he always used to say, 'Believe in yourself'. In my career I’ve had people write me off, and talk about me… I suppose every footballer gets that, and being English and being in the spotlight maybe I had it a little bit more.

"But Arsene always backed me. And I think sometimes he could see in me that I was down or lacking confidence, and he always just said, 'Believe in yourself'. And I felt he believed in me.

"I’ve always said — and I’ve only really realised it since I left — if you’ve got a manager who believes in you and gives you that confidence, that’s massive."

Both Wenger and Wilshere put an end to their respective long spells at Arsenal and left the London-based club at the end of last season.