Why ex-Arsenal, West Ham and England star is using high-flying Portsmouth as a coaching blueprint

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The former midfielder made 34 appearances for England, scoring twice

Pompey welcomed a special guest last week - but John Mousinho has ruled out the favour being returned via being handed Arsenal players.

Former Gunners and West Ham midfielder Jack Wilshere was a notable presence at the Hilsea training ground following an invite from the Blues’ head coach.

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Wilshere has served as Arsenal’s under-18s head coach since announcing his retirement in July 2022 after an injury-hit playing career which also consisted of spells with Bolton and Bournemouth.

Former Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere was recently at Pompey's training ground. Picture: Arsenal FC / Getty ImagesFormer Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere was recently at Pompey's training ground. Picture: Arsenal FC / Getty Images
Former Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere was recently at Pompey's training ground. Picture: Arsenal FC / Getty Images | Arsenal FC / Getty Images

The 34-time capped England international led the youngsters to the FA Youth Cup final in his first campaign in charge, before losing to West Ham.

Now, in an attempt to broaden his knowledge, he has been picking Mousinho’s brains and before Christmas visited the south coast to watch the League One leaders in training.

Although, Mousinho insists no Arsenal under-18s players are on Pompey’s radar with the January window opening next week.

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He told The News: 'Jack was just visiting us as part of his development as a head coach.

'We have a mutual connection and I thought it would be a good idea for him to come in and have a look at a training session. It was great to have a player of that stature around us too.

'We are not taking anyone from Arsenal under-18s, we have visitors down all the time. We had Gosport’s Joe Lea and Pat Suraci in pre-season and welcome them as much as we welcome Jack Wilshere, Lee Bradbury, etc.

'A big part of my development last year was going to Luton’s training ground and speaking to Rob (Edwards), seeing how they were doing things there.

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'That really, really helped me and I try to do that as much as possible, either visiting training grounds or speaking to other managers, I think it’s really important.

Jack Wilshere made 197 appearances during his time at Arsenal. Picture: Getty ImagesJack Wilshere made 197 appearances during his time at Arsenal. Picture: Getty Images
Jack Wilshere made 197 appearances during his time at Arsenal. Picture: Getty Images | Getty Images

'We haven’t got anything to hide here, we’re open, if there’s anything anyone can come and learn - and we can learn from them also - then brilliant. Having a sit down with Jack Wilshere for me was really beneficial.

'He was really interesting, a top-level player, and is a really good guy. He wants to forge his way ahead in coaching as well.'

Wilshere totalled 197 appearances and 14 goals for Arsenal, but the 31-year-old is now focused on carving out a coaching career.

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Mousinho added: ‘It’s always good to have a look at what it looks like to operate at a different environment and a different level.

‘Jack is operating at under-18s with Arsenal and we are a first-team in League One, so it’s interesting to look at other environments.

‘You try to pick one or two things. You might like things, you might not like things, but it’s really good to be exposed to different environments.’

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