It was the first leg of the Round of 16 clash between Arsenal and Barcelona at the Emirates Stadium. Barcelona had arguably the greatest midfield pairing of all time in Xavi and Iniesta with the best player in the world up front. Arsenal had an exciting midfield of Cesc Fabregas and Jack Wilshere that had to play out of their skins to stand a chance against their illustrious opponents.
What happened next would live long in the minds of Arsenal fans all over the world. Arsenal beat Barcelona 2-1 with Jack Wilshere bossing, yes bossing, the midfield.
Young Prodigy : Jack Wilshere !
Everyone knew that Wilshere was a super talent but for him to stand out against Barcelona at 19 years of age was not something that anyone could have expected. The only question was not if but how soon will become the best midfielder in the world?
That was 2011.
Fast forward five years to 2016 and Jack Wilshere has completed a loan move to Bournemoth. Make no mistake about this Wilshere has gone to the Cherries in an effort to re start his once promising career.
It has been a rapid fall from grace for the boy who was hailed as the biggest thing in English football since Wayne Rooney. Injuries have played a cruel part in his career as well.
After that breakthrough season in 2011, he missed the whole of the next season through injury. Constant injuries since then has not only hindered but almost brought his career to a standstill at the Emirates.
No surprise then Wilshere is no longer an automatic starter for the club. Forget starting he is probably 4th or 5th choice in a three man midfield at Arsenal which is why he left the club looking to more playing opportunities.
What Next ?
And when he did get his chance to play, he did not seem too sure about himself. His talent has not disappeared but the confidence has taken a real beating. He has lost that self belief that characterized him in his youth.
But at 24, there is still a chance that he could fulfill that great potential. The problem for Wenger is that he knows how good Wilshere can be. What if Arsenal sells him and then he goes on to become the player that everyone knows he can? That is the quandary that Wenger finds himself in.
Let us hope that Wilshere gets his mojo back at Bournemoth. It has been a career of what ifs till now. Let us hope he turns that around !