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Jack Wilshere nearly turned down the opportunity to sign for Arsenal when he was just nine years old (Picture: Getty)

Jack Wilshere admits he nearly turned down the opportunity to sign for Arsenal as a youngster after he was spotted playing for Luton when he was just nine years old.

After impressing a watching scout, who was actually refereeing a game against Barnet, Wilshere was asked to sign for the Gunners almost there and then but the midfielder was initially not sold on the idea.

Wilshere eventually relented and went on to progress through the Arsenal academy, becoming a first team regular at just 18 before a series of catastrophic injuries effectively ruined his chances of fulfilling his potential.

Recalling the story behind his decision to sign for Arsenal, Wilshere told The Lockdown Tactics podcast: ‘I was playing for Luton and we were playing against Barnet and the ref was actually scouting for Arsenal.

‘He came up to my Dad afterwards and told him he wanted me to come along. He didn’t even say it was a trial he just wanted to sign me for Arsenal. It was strange because there must have been some sort of transfer window where that sort of thing could happen but I I’ll be honest with you I didn’t want to go.

‘I was 15 minutes from Luton to get to London every day. My Dad with his job he would have to finish work early.

‘My Dad didn’t put any pressure on me but at the time I didn’t know what to do.
I remember it so clearly, I was nine and I was in the park with my mate. My Dad pulled up in his little red van and said this is your last day you’ve got to make a decision.

‘I said to my mate fuck it I’m going to Arsenal and the rest is history. Fair play to my Dad because we didn’t have much as a kid, he was a plumber.

‘He used to finish work at 4, then we’d be out the door and it would take an hour to get to London from where I lived and that was like three times a week from when I was 10.’

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