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Jack Wilshere has announced his retirement from professional football in a heartbreaking statement.
The former Arsenal and West Ham midfielder has decided to call time on a 14-year professional career following the end of his contract with Danish side AGF in June. It comes after a huge volume of injuries repeatedly hindered his progress and eventually left him unable to find a suitable English club.
Wilshere, 30, was once tipped to be the future of both Arsenal and the England national team. But repeated setbacks have now seen the playmaker deliver a lengthy and emotional post on Twitter announcing his retirement.
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He wrote: "Today I am announcing my retirement from playing professional football: It has been an unbelievable journey filled with so many incredible moments.
"I feel privileged to have experienced all that I did during my career. From being the little boy kicking a ball around in the garden to captaining my beloved Arsenal and playing for my country at a World Cup. I have lived my dream."
Wilshere started his career at Arsenal, coming through the club's academy before making his debut in 2008. He went on to make almost 200 appearances for the Gunners over a 10-year spell before leaving for West Ham during Unai Emery's tenure.
Two underwhelming stints at Bournemouth were then followed by a period without a club when the ex-Gunners talisman first voiced his frustrations publicly. And he has now shed more light on his decision to hang up his boots.
Wilshere added: "In truth it has been difficult to accept that my career has been slipping away in recent times due to reasons outside of my control whilst feeling that I have still had so much to give.
"Having played at the very highest level I have always held such huge ambitions within the game and if I am truthful I did not envisage being in this position at times. However, having had time to reflect and talk with those closest with me I know that now is the right time and despite the difficult moments I look back on my career with great pride at what I have achieved.
"I have lived my dream. In truth it has been difficult to accept that my career has been slipping away in recent times due to reasons outside of my control whilst feeling that I have still had so much to give."
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