Jack Wilshere expresses gratitude to Arsenal for training opportunity as he urges people to ‘speak out’ about mental health and opens up on how lack of routine affected him

Jack Wilshere has told talkSPORT how grateful he is to Arsenal for offering him the opportunity to train at London Colney after he opened up about having depressive thoughts.

Wilshere, who played 197 games for the Gunners over 10 years, has been a free agent since his deal at Bournemouth expired at the end of last season.

Jack Wilshere has been back at Arsenal in a bid to get match fit, as he looks for a new club

He spent a short time last month training with Serie B outfit Como having spoken about his lack of offers and the impact it was having on his mental health.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was then asked if Wilshere would be welcome back to the club to train, replying, “The door is always open.”

Now he is training predominantly with the under-23s at the club’s London Colney training centre.

Wilshere joined talkSPORT Drive on Thursday and when asked about his quest to find a club, he said: “Well, to be honest it’s sort of hit a dry patch.

“That’s why I’m so thankful for Arsenal, because I was waking up in the morning – because I still want to play – knowing I had to train.

“I planned a session and it’d get to 11am, ‘Oh, I’m not gonna do it.’

“Then it got to 3pm and I’m like, ‘No, I have to do it.’

Arteta and Arsenal allowed Wilshere to return for training

“I was having those mental battles every day.

“Now Arsenal have given me this opportunity to come and train, come and do a bit of coaching.

“It’s just the routine of – I wake up in the morning, I’ve gotta be there at 8:30am, I know that, I’m gonna be training with a team.

“I think as well, because it went on for three months, it was solid.

“I’d be on the phone to my agent, having conversations and nothing was going anywhere.

Wilshere has spoken honestly about his struggles dealing with the lack of routine

“It was taking over my mind, so just to step away from it, go and train, put myself in a position when January comes to be fit and ready if a team comes…

“It’s mad, I didn’t think about it, you wake up and you’ve got nothing to do.

“I’d find myself in bed at 10am, my missus is going mad, the kids are going crazy downstairs and I’m just like, ‘Ah, I ain’t gotta get up, I ain’t gotta do nothing.’

“So yeah, the routine is tough.”

Wilshere is a free agent after leaving Bournemouth in the summer

Wilshere first publicly discussed his depressive thoughts back in September.

“Speak out, and I know it sounds cliché, but it actually did help me,” he continued.

“I didn’t wanna do it because I know there’s people worse off, no-one wants to hear about a footballer who’s earned well in his career, moaning about these things.

“But actually everyone has these thoughts, these depressive thoughts.

“I’m not saying I’m depressed or I was depressed, but you have negative thoughts.

“When I did an interview, I spoke out.

“And the love and support I received from ex-players I played with, from legends of the game, it really helped me, it gave me a boost.”

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