Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has admitted who his two biggest mentors were when he first made his way into the Gunners squad back in 2008, emphasising the huge amount of help given to him when he was still a teenager.
Last week's Europa League victory over BATE Borisov saw the 25-year-old seem like a seasoned veteran alongside his younger teammates, including the likes of Riess Nelson (17), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (20) and Joe Willock (18).
And now Wilshere has thrown it back to when he was in their position, discussing who helped him settle as a 16-year-old breaking through:
“When I first got into the squad Kolo Toure was brilliant for me,” Wilshere said, according to the Express.
“But when I first got into the team, I was playing next to Fabregas, who was captain, and Alex Song.
“Cesc had come through at a similar age to me so he knew the pressure I was under and he was great for me too.”
Now Wilshere understands that it's his turn to become the mentor, and is more than willing to do so.
“If they need help I’ll be there,” he said. “I can remember when I was in their position and if you had an experienced player talking to you and encouraging you during a game, that always helped.
“The boys coming through now all have lots of individual quality and have enough to make a career at the club. They all want to learn and I think it’s crazy that Reiss is only 17 - it makes me feel old.
“They’ll learn from every experience they have. Ainsley is playing out of position but it’s going to be good for him going forward in his career.”