Name: Jack Wilshere
Club: Arsenal FC
Debut: 13/09/08 v Blackburn Rovers FC (Premier League)
Date of birth: 01/01/92
It is a measure of just how quickly Jack Wilshere has grown in stature that he was named in not one England squad this week, but two. After making his full international debut in August, the 18-year-old central midfielder was recalled by manager Fabio Capello to the senior side for Tuesday's UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against Montenegro, having played a key role in helping England defeat Romania 2-1 in their 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-off on Friday night.
Wilshere joined Arsenal aged nine and after working his way up through the club's academy made his senior debut against Blackburn Rovers FC in the Premier League in September 2008, becoming the youngest player to represent the club in league football at the age of 16 years and 256 days.
It was last season on loan at Bolton Wanderers FC, though, that he proved he had the strength and character to go with the terrific touch and vision that are the hallmarks of Arsenal players under Arsène Wenger. Arsenal fans got a glimpse of the future when Wilshere combined superbly alongside Cesc Fàbregas in the 6-0 UEFA Champions League rout of SC Braga last month. His invention combined with growing maturity and strength make him one of the most exciting talents in the English game.
Arsenal FC 6-0 Sheffield United FC
23 September 2008, English League Cup
Wilshere scored his first senior goal for Arsenal as Wenger put his faith in youth for the League Cup fourth-round tie against Sheffield United. Ten days after making his debut, Wilshere controlled the midfield and scored the goal a superb performance merited when he fired in Fran Merida's corner from outside the box.
"It was brilliant. Sometimes I had to pinch myself, sitting in the dressing room next to Rooney and Gerrard and the others."
On making his England debut in the 2-1 win against Hungary on 11 August 2010
"People talk about Cesc and that's what I want to be like. He's a perfect player to learn from because he gets into space, it's easy to find him, he helps you through the game and he is always talking to you. He's a good leader as well as a good player. Hopefully I can just follow in his footsteps. To be as good as him would be nice."
"I hope Jack gets a game against Montenegro. The one thing that really pleases me is that Jack would have been quite happy to get on the plane and come to Romania with us. And part of him feels he is being taken away form the Under-21s – in a nice way – but his attitude is fantastic. He is an outstanding player and he deserves to be with the seniors."
England U21 manager Stuart Pearce on 8 October after failing to convince Fabio Capello to let Wilshere stay with U21s for the second leg of their play-off against Romania
"Jack reminds me a bit of Rooney when he started in his belief and his positive attitude to go forwards."
Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger
"I believe he will end up a central midfielder, just off the striker in the Bergkamp role. We forget that this boy is only 16 and already has so much power; you give him four more years and he will be massively strong. He can find the final ball and can also score goals. He is a passionate and committed guy, he is not afraid of tackles and you would want this type of player to finish off central."
Wenger, December 2008
"For one so young, he's brave, tough, mentally strong and destined for greatness. He is a total footballer. He can play wide, he can play in the middle or he can play as a second striker. Everything he does oozes class. He's a tough lad. He can take a player on, he can make a killer pass, score a goal but he'll mix it too. Even though he is only 18, he is very much a man."
Bolton manager Owen Coyle
"Jack Wilshere is different to most other English boys. He is highly technical, and that should be the target. Arsenal have a regime which is all about technique and that helps the likes of Jack come through."
Liam Brady, head of Arsenal youth development
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