Mikel Arteta pays tribute to Jack Wilshere after he finally found a new club in Danish side Aarhus… and says training with Arsenal reminded his former team-mate how ‘magnificent’ it is to be a footballer again
Mikel Arteta has paid tribute to Jack Wilshere after he joined Danish side Aarhus, and claims the player has rediscovered the joy of playing football.
The former England midfielder had spent the season training with the Gunners on a non-contract basis before last week agreeing a deal to join top-flight Danish club Aarhus until the summer with the option to extend.
The Gunners welcomed the 30-year-old back into the fold in October, and in an interview with Sportsmail in January Wilshere admitted he had ‘depressive, negative thoughts’ during his six months out of the game.
Mikel Arteta has paid tribute to Jack Wilshere (above) after he joined Danish side Aarhus
Wilshere had been training with Arsenal since October before leaving for Denmark last week
But Arteta believes his time at the club over the past few months has reminded him about how ‘magnificent’ playing the sport is.
‘First of all thank you, it’s been great to have had him,’ Arteta said ahead of Arsenal’s match against Wolves on Thursday.
‘Hopefully we have helped him a little bit as well. This group of players have given him that experience again on a daily basis how magnificent it feels to be a football player.’
Wilshere made 197 appearances for the Gunners over a 10-year period before leaving on a free transfer in 2018.
Gunners boss Arteta (centre) believes his club have helped Wilshere rediscover joy of playing
But now he is set to play competitively for the first time since the Championship play-off semi-finals in May in Aarhus’ Superliga clash against Velje on Friday.
‘It all happened really quick,’ said the 30-year-old. ‘I had a conversation with one of the coaches, David Reddington. He explained to me about the club, how good it is and how much I’d enjoy it.
‘He worked with someone I worked with closely, Roy Hodgson, who I enjoyed working with. I knew Dave would have a similar way of doing things. Then I spoke with the head coach and really liked what they were saying.
‘I always said that in my career I wanted to try something different. I think now was the right time to step out of my comfort zone, step out of England and try something different.’
Wilshere is set to make his Aarhus debut in their Superliga clash against Velje on Friday
Meanwhile, Aarhus coach David Nielsen believes Wilshere’s move is a positive outcome for Danish football.
‘I think it says a lot about the league, and I think it says a lot about Denmark, because Denmark has a good reputation,’ he said. ‘It is a place people want to come and live.
‘I think it’s cool that we can attract players who have been to some major places and that we can be attractive to them.
‘He has lived in London, and now he must be allowed to live in Aarhus. It is an even better place to live.’