Jack Wilshere: Former Arsenal star's masterclass vs Barcelona is still worth watching

Jack Wilshere of Arsenal tackles Barcelona star Lionel Messi in the Champions League in 2011

Jack Wilshere's career hit a nadir recently. 

Speaking to The Athletic, the former England international (still only 29, by the way) talked of his struggles to find a new club after leaving Championship outfit Bournemouth, as well as his thoughts on an early retirement. 

Clearly a talented player and once the leading light of English football, injuries have robbed us of Wilshere's best years and, ironically enough, he would appear to be the profile of midfielder Gareth Southgate is missing at international level. 

A player capable of running things from deep, as well as boasting an ability to hold onto the ball in a way not often seen in players from these shores, Wilshere (in his pomp) seems perfect for that role in an otherwise solid Three Lions side. 

Obviously, a recall to international duty at this stage of his career looks incredibly unlikely, barring a major turnaround in form and fitness. Wilshere, however, has been offered the chance to train at former club Arsenal in a bid to help him build. 

The idea of Wilshere returning to the North London giants, albeit in a training-only capacity, evokes some emotional memories. 

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Indeed, his performance against Barcelona in a 2011 Champions League meeting announced him to the world stage. 

Only 19 at the time, Wilshere ran the show in a 2-1 win for the home side at The Emirates Stadium in the Round of 16, earning praise from the likes of Xavi and Pep Guardiola

Lining up against perhaps the best midfield assembled in the modern era, the youngster put in as much graft as guile, constantly breaking up attacks before pushing ahead and releasing his side's attackers. 

As you can see in the highlight video below, it was a memorable evening for the midfielder and, sadly, probably the best of his career on an individual basis. 

"If he had a career that had been injury-free we would already be talking about him as one of the top central midfield players in Europe," said Xavi in 2015 (via The Daily Mirror). 

"I have played against him, I have watched him carefully, and if he can overcome injuries, then he can still go on and be one of the best midfield players in the world."

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