Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere admits he was 'really upset' when Cesc Fabregas joined Barcelona, but realises the departure of the club captain has afforded him greater responsibility.
Fabregas completed his protracted €40 million transfer to the Camp Nou in the summer of 2011, having made 303 appearances for the Gunners during his eight years in north London.
The 26-year-old's departure came at the end of Wilshere's maiden season in the Arsenal first-team, and Fabregas acted as the ideal mentor to the then teenage midfielder.
Fabregas' exit understandably wrangled with Wilshere more than most Arsenal players, and the England international has conceded that the loss of his midfield colleague was a bitter pill to swallow.
"I was really upset about Fabregas leaving," Wilshere said in a Google Hangout hosted by the Gunners.
"He was the captain and you always went to him if you had a problem."
The absence of Fabregas immediately placed a greater burden of expectation on the shoulders of Wilshere who, like his former teammate, was given his maiden opportunity in the first-team aged only 16.
A long-term injury prevented Wilshere from providing the Gunners with the Fabregas replacement they craved following the loss of the Spain international, and the former has thanked his manager for sticking by him in the dark days.
"[Wenger] gave me a chance when I was 16 and brought me into the first team. He picked me out and gave me that chance to train with the first team. He put his arm around me," Wilshere added.
"Some games I didn't play well but he still stuck with me, when you're young you do make mistakes."