There was a time when Jack Wilshere was Arsenal’s standout schoolboy player, but now the midfielder is helping to coach the club’s young prospects.
Wilshere, who is set to remain with the club until January, was part of the coaching team as Arsenal U17s, managed by another Gunners youth product in Adam Birchall, drew 1-1 with Watford at Hale End in the London Cup this week. First year scholar Jimi Gower, a midfielder, was on the scoresheet.
The game provided an opportunity for the first-years who have been used sparingly for the U18s so far this season to get some much-needed game time.
Players such as Amani Richards, Kaleel Green, Henry Timi Davies, Mathaeus Roberts and goalkeeper Alex Kovacevic all featured as well as those who have been more heavily involved recently like Reuell Walters and Bradley Ibrahim.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the game was the fact that some members of the U16 squad were called into action, including midfielder Michal Rosiak and forward Omari Benjamin, who have both already been on the bench for the U18s.
Other schoolboys who were called up included winger Seb Ferdinand and centre-back Luis Brown (pictured), both of whom have done well for the U16s.