What Does the Future Hold for Gunners Favourite Jack Wilshere as He Reaches Crucial Stage of Career
The sight of Jack Wilshere training with Arsenal's first team is enough to cause most Gunners fans to reminisce of what once was and hope for a sequel to a story that started so brightly but then faded just as drastically as it began.
The Arsenal fans will lavish their love on Wilshere. And even those who seem to talk in a desensitised manner towards him still have an air of reluctance in their voice, much like one who tries to disregard their ex shortly after a breakup.
From his unofficial debut as a 16-year-old in the Emirates Cup in 2008 to his breakthrough season in 2010, an instant connection was formed between the player who signed for the club aged nine, and the Arsenal faithful.
You only need to hark your mind back to a cold February night at the Emirates Stadium in 2011, when Arsenal took on Barcelona in the Last 16 of the Champions League. With the Gunners 1-0 down, a then 19-year-old Wilshere grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and helped his team turn around the deficit, which eventually saw them run out 2-1 winners.
His performance hadn't escape the eyes of Xavi, the legendary Barcelona midfielder many had earmarked Wilshere to match in terms of quality. The Spanish playmaker waxed lyrical about a performance that negated the typical traits English players are often associated with.
After 'that' Barcelona game, Wilshere was the present and future of England, a player who graced the game with the nous of a seasoned foreign midfield conductor but the bite of a typical English bulldog.
And then, in a Euro 2012 qualifier, Wilshere injured his ankle and had a significant portion of his career taken away, missing the following season-and-a-half through injury. Ever since that moment, his career has been placed in stasis.
Arsenal and England have moved on without him, and the now 25-year-old finds himself back at the Emirates after a, let's say, decent loan stint with Bournemouth last season. Like all great sporting stories, there needs to be a chapter which plays out where real pain and despair is felt before the hero picks himself up and climbs to the top of the sporting mountain.
Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like Wilshere's injuries will be a blight in what ends up as a stellar career - at least not with Arsenal. He's entering into the final 12 months of his contract, and while there are some reports he will see out his final year with the Gunners, manager Arsene Wenger has suggested that his future lies elsewhere .
Links to Swansea and Turkish side Antalyaspor hardly scream of a player who is in demand and its now up to Wilshere to prove that he can go last for a full season for the first since 2010/11 without suffering an injury. If he can come through this campaign - wherever it may be - unscathed, then maybe he can start to rebuild his career.
It's unlikely that he will reach the heights many thought he would, but it would be a shame if he can't make something of what once promised to be a glittering career.
Sadly, that's unlikely to be at Arsenal.