West Ham’s £100,000-a-week gamble on Jack Wilshere has backfired

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Almost 200 career games missed, more than 1,200 days sidelined and close to his umpteenth comeback… West Ham’s £100,000-a-week gamble on Jack Wilshere has backfired so far

  • Jack Wilshere signed a three year, £100,000 deal with West Ham last summer 
  • He has featured five times for West Ham, totaling 339 Premier League minutes 
  • His last appearance was on December 1 – a five-minute cameo at Newcastle 
  • Wilshere made his latest comeback in an under-23s game against Leicester 

When Jack Wilshere joined Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham revolution, signing a three-year contract worth close to £100,000 per week, it did not take long for the jokes to follow.

One rival supporter, commenting on Sportsmail’s story, guesstimated the England midfielder would play eight games. Another said he was signed to keep Andy Carroll company on the treatment table.

Sadly, those jibes have proven true and then some. Wilshere has featured just five times for West Ham this season, totaling 339 Premier League minutes, after suffering yet another ankle injury.

Jack Wilshere has featured just five times for West Ham, totaling 339 Premier League minutes

Jack Wilshere has featured just five times for West Ham, totaling 339 Premier League minutes

WILSHERE’S INJURIES 

2018-19 – Ankle (133 days / 21 games)

2018-19 – Ankle (69 days / 10 games)

2016-17 – Leg (112 days / 1 game)

2016-17 – Knee (11 days / N/A)

2015-16 – Leg (247 days / 47 games)

2014-15 – Ankle (36 days / 7 games)

2014-15 – Ankle (90 days / 19 games)

2013-14 – Foot (57 days / 11 games)

2013-14 – Ankle (6 days / 2 games)

2012-13 – Ankle (30 days / 4 games)

2011-12 – Knee (125 days / 6 games)

2011-12 – Foot (104 days / 19 games)

2011-12 – Ankle (127 days / 25 games)

2011-12 – Ankle (56 days / 10 games)

2009-10 – Ankle (12 days / 4 games)

TOTAL – 1,215 days / 186 games

Stats via transfermarkt

This latest setback means the 27-year-old has now missed close to 200 matches across his career. In all, he has found himself sidelined for more than 1,200 days.

The reaction to West Ham’s announcement of Wilshere on a three-year agreement told a story. It showed how fans figured his reputation for injuries would rear its ugly head.

Unfortunately, it has, though it is hardly intentional. The midfielder himself would much rather be fighting fit, just as he largely was for the previous two Premier League seasons.

In 2016-17, he made 27 appearances while on loan at Bournemouth. In 2017-18, he made 38 in all competitions at Arsenal. That’s what West Ham hoped they were getting.

Yet now, with the benefit of hindsight, we can see how big a gamble it was to give a player with such an injury-plagued history three years. The first has not gone anywhere near according to plan.

His last appearance was on December 1 – a five-minute cameo away at Newcastle – and he is now in a race against time to appear again this campaign.

Carroll, meanwhile, who knows this torment so well, will not wear claret and blue again after suffering his own ankle injury. His contract expires at the end of this season and an extension will not follow.

Wilshere made his latest comeback from yet another ankle injury in an under-23s match

Wilshere made his latest comeback from yet another ankle injury in an under-23s match

JACK WILSHERE – FULL PREMIER LEAGUE CAREER STATS SINCE 2010
  2010/2011 2012/2013 2013/2014 2014/2015 2015/2016 2016/2017 2017/2018 2018/2019
Team Arsenal Arsenal Arsenal Arsenal Arsenal Bournemouth Arsenal West Ham United
Apps 35 25 24 14 3 29 20 5
Starts 31 20 19 9 1 22 12 4
Mins 2650 1696 1719 732 141 1949 1187 339
Goals 1 0 3 2 0 0 1 0
Per 90 0.03 0 0.16 0.25 0 0 0.08 0
Assists 3 3 4 1 0 2 3 1
Per 90 0.1 0.16 0.21 0.12 0 0.09 0.23 0.27
Chances Created 60 47 33 16 1 34 15 3
Per 90 2.04 2.49 1.73 1.97 0.64 1.57 1.14 0.8
Passes 1903 1192 1219 524 83 1069 808 172
Per 90 64.6 63.3 63.8 64.4 53 49.4 61.3 45.7
Passes Successful 1639 1028 1050 441 70 892 698 152
Per 90 55.7 54.6 55 54.2 44.7 41.2 52.9 40.4
Passing Accuracy 86.1 86.2 86.1 84.2 84.3 83.4 86.4 88.4

Like Carroll, Wilshere may never lose his ‘injury-prone’ label but he has a point to prove as he closes in on the umpteenth comeback of his career.

We know what he is capable of. Wilshere scored one of the Premier League’s greatest-ever goals against Norwich in 2013-14, starting then finishing a stupendous move at the Emirates Stadium. He also won goal of the season in 2014-15 for a scorcher he scored against West Brom.

That is the creativity that West Ham crave from the midfielder, who appeared for their Under-23s against Leicester last week and managed 66 minutes. He is also set to turn out for the kids against Derby on Sunday.

Wilshere signed a three year, £100,000-per-week deal with the Hammers last summer

Wilshere signed a three year, £100,000-per-week deal with the Hammers last summer

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s trip to Old Trafford, manager Manuel Pellegrini indicated Wilshere would return to first-team training next week. Maybe so, but they will not be rushing him back.

It is now seven years since Wilshere was pictured sat alongside Aaron Ramsey after the two had signed a new deal for Arsenal, along with Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Ramsey, a year older than Wilshere, is set to leave for Juventus. He is a player who overcame his own horrific injury but is now very much in his prime.

Wilshere is on a different career path. West Ham made a show of faith with the deal they handed him, and they will hope this does not turn out to be one of the Premier League’s most expensive mistakes.

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