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Wilshere – from academy boy to pro-footballer

By Randy Osae

At a tender age of just 16-years, Jack Wilsere’s emergence as a hot prospect in English football – within the time range of Arsenal’s pre-season in July to now – has earned him new career altitudes.

Casting memories back to last year, the Hertfordshire-born youngster was an academy boy who by plans, was in nurturing stages and quite far away from even training with Arsenal’s first-rate men. It took him till February 2008 to start playing for the reserves and the then 15-year-old had achieved coming only a single line behind the club’s highest ranks.

Five to seven months after, Jack Wilshere has been luminary in competitive games for Arsenal already – not to forget him even appearing on that level is a massive advancement for a teenager who was due to be sitting on classroom desks instead of getting stand-ovations in stadiums.

One defining moment of his career that many don’t know is when he was introduced into the pre-season friendly with Real Madrid. Prior to that match, Arsene Wenger had insisted to “play the waiting game” with Wilshere – basically meaning the boy was too young and needed a bit of strength in addition to his technical skill to join his crew.

Moments after coming on, a long ball was sent to the left wing, Wislhere and Madrid’s Javi Garcia raced to the ball, and when they both got there, the English teen swiftly dragged it with confidence and easily resisted his bigger opponent’s challenge and went on to curl a cross for Bendtner which eventually resulted in a corner.

It was the morning after that game, that the club announced Jack had been handed Gilberto’s number 19 shirt and Wenger talked as if he had already planned to promote Wilshere already. What he proved during that cameo appearance is the strength his boss and many asked of such a young player with a mere height.

If you did not know, (as the photo above shows) that short afternoon he had against Real Madrid, was when Wilshere’s new employment at Arsenal Football Club was confirmed. And he only earns £75 a week for that job.

Due to age restrictions, Wilshere is not allowed to sign a lucrative pro-contract yet until turning 17 on new year’s day in 2009. For now, he is a fellow schoolboy, very soon, he will be an icon for kids.

The always acquisitive Chelsea have reportedly sighted a transfer for Arsenal’s teenager (rated at about £5 million) with Inter Milan also on the thread, while an Italian sports agency are keen to add him to their clients.

But majority of it all will depend on Arsenal – Arsene Wenger of course. Whatever amount he will absurdly accept for the outstanding youngster to leave will only be a fraction of Wilshere’s potential price tag.

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