Cherries unveil Wilshere ahead of rescheduled cup tie

bmth press conf

Written by Andy Jones (@TheRamblingHam)

Jack Wilshere revealed he is “feeling fit” and “sharp” after being unveiled as AFC Bournemouth’s first signing of the January transfer window. 

Available as a free agent after leaving West Ham in the summer, the former England international has signed a short-term deal until the end of the season. 

Having previously played for the Cherries in the 2016/17 Premier League campaign, the new number 11 knew a move back to the South coast was the only choice, saying: “Honestly, it was not something that crossed my mind until I came down here and I started training with the boys and got back into the swing of things. 

“I said before, ever since I came to this club four years ago I felt welcome and nothing really changed and as soon as I found out there was an interest from the manager. 

“I couldn’t keep the smile off my face and I think that’s what told me it was the right thing to do.” 

Wilshere played 27 times for the Cherries that season until a fractured leg bone cut short what had been a hugely successful and popular loan move from Arsenal. 

The former Gunner discussed his relationship with manager, Jason Tindall as being a key factor in re-signing for the Dorset club, saying: “I still have a good relationship with him and many of the players here as well, so that was a big, big factor in my decision making.” 

With a willingness to learn and no illusions on the challenges ahead, the ex-Hammer is confident of helping his new club gain promotion back to the Premier League. 

He continued: “I don’t know the league that well to say what it takes to get out of it. 

“I’m learning, I’m speaking to the manager. I’m playing with players who have played in this division before. 

“Speaking with players, the one thing I know that it takes is a lot of character, a lot of hard work and, you know, when I look through the squad here there’s young players and they have big, big characters who have played in the Premier League. 

“I think we have what it takes to get out of the league, it’s going to be difficult of course, we’ve had a couple of bad results but now it’s about bouncing back.” 

After such a prolonged time away from the pitch, the former Arsenal playmaker acknowledged how tough the break has been at times. He said: “You know, sometimes you wake up and you struggle and you don’t want to go in today. 

“It made me realise how much I actually do love it, how much I miss being around the lads, and being in that environment where there is pressure and you have to challenge yourself. 

“But now I’m back I’m really excited.” 

Bournemouth next play Crawley in the FA Cup 4th round on Tuesday after seeing the Saturday afternoon game rescheduled due to COVID-19 reasons. 

The two-time FA Cup winner spoke directly to Nerve Sport on being involved in his first FA Cup tie since playing in the 2015 final. 

Wilshere said: “Yeah it’s been a while since I’ve been involved in the FA Cup. 

“I love the FA Cup, when I was younger, a younger player, that was an opportunity for me to try and work my way into the Premier League team, Arsenal was always good at that. 

“But now I’m at a different stage in my career, and looking to try and get minutes and improve my fitness and we want to win the game, it’s the FA Cup. 

“Obviously against a team in the lower divisions, which brings different challenges it’s going to be a difficult game and we are going to have to be ready to fight from the first minute.” 

Having won the cup with Arsenal in 2014 and 2015, the midfielder admits it is going to be tough to maintain both a good cup run and keep pushing at the very top of the Championship. 

He added “Yeah, it’s going to be difficult. 

“Obviously there are a lot of games, but I think the manager, after watching the previous round, is using it as an opportunity to give the players who haven’t played as many games some minutes. 

“It gives those players an opportunity to do well and get into the Championship team, while there will be a lot of changes, players will want to improve. 

“I am one of those as well, I need to get fit and try and get into this team, I’ll be giving it my all on Tuesday if I am selected. 

“I’m sure the players around me will be the same.”