That was 11 years ago today when Arsenal hero Jack Walsher announced himself to the world with a Champions League master class against Barcelona.
The Gunners beat Barca in the UAE in the Round of 16 on 16 February 2011 and won 2–1.
Arsene Wenger’s men beat Lionel Messi and, along with Robin van Persie, canceled out David Villa’s opener before Andre Arshavin’s winner.
But the world talked about a player after the match, and it was Wilshere who dominated the midfield against the dreamy trio of Zavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Biscuits.
Ax, 19, kept his Blogran counterparts quiet throughout the match and was named man of the match.
In fact, the North London winner started with former England international Cesc Fabregas, while under pressure, which led to Arshavin’s goal against the Champions League winners.
Arsenal could not make it to the quarter-finals after losing 3-1 in a controversial comeback leg at Camp Nou, when Van Persie was sent off, but the midfielder’s brilliant performance is still remembered by the world.
Wilshere recalls with Arsenal’s ‘Unlockdown’ podcast in May 2020: “Truth be told, I never thought I would [playing that well]. I thought I was fine. When we arrived at halftime I did some good things in the first half but I felt like they were overwhelmed.
“They had a way of making you feel like you were running in circles for no reason. They made these small passes in midfield and you didn’t know how to push or pull back and wait for them.”
“It simply came to our notice then. [that I realised how well I’d played]. It was Paul Akers, Kitman, who said, ‘You only had Xavi and Iniesta in your pocket’.
“I said, ‘No chance,’ and he was like, ‘I’m telling you.’ Then I got the man of the match. Good game and what people are thinking.
“I remember the next few days. [Samir] Nazareth said to me after the game, “You need to stay at that level right now, you’ve just gone up a few levels, it should be your level, week in, week out.”
After this brilliant performance against Barcelona, everyone expected that Wilshere would become the captain of Arsenal as well as the regular captain of England.
But 11 years later, after being released from Bournemouth in 2021, the 30-year-old is now without a club.
The midfielder has suffered numerous injury setbacks throughout his career, even while on loan at West Ham.
He has been training with Arsenal since last fall to maintain a high level of fitness, but it does not look like he will be able to join a top-tier team in the near future.
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