Wilshere: Wenger is like a father

Although the duo did not always have the closest working relationship at Arsenal, Jack Wilshere has paid tribute to Arsene Wenger.

Arsene Wenger and Jack Wilshere, pictured in 2013   -  Getty Images

Jack Wilshere says Arsene Wenger has been "like a father" to him after the veteran Arsenal manager announced his departure from the club on Friday.

Wenger's decision means his 22-year stay at Arsenal will close at the end of the campaign, with the Gunners aiming to win the Europa League to secure a return to the Champions League.

The pair did not always see eye to eye and the Frenchman - who gave Wilshere his debut in 2008 but sent him on loan to Bournemouth last term - told the midfielder he could leave Arsenal before the start of the season.

But the England international paid tribute to the outgoing 68-year-old in a passionate social media post after the news of Wenger's departure emerged.

"To the man who gave me my chance as a 16-year-old, and showed unbelievable faith and commitment towards me," Wilshere wrote on Instagram. 

"Always a gentleman, like a father through tough times in my career. He always believed in me when most people didn't.

"Thank you for everything boss! It's down to us now to end your era right. #onearsenewenger."

Wilshere is yet to agree a new Arsenal contract, with his deal set to expire at the end of the season.

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