Wilshere signs professional contract | inside World Soccer

Wilshere signs professional contract

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Arsenal youngster Jack Wilshere has been handed his first professional contract by the Gunners just days after turning 17.

The highly-rated midfielder, who has been with Arsenal since he was nine, celebrated his 17th birthday on New Year's Day and Arsène Wenger has wasted little time in securing Wilshere's long-term future.

The Frenchman told the club's official website: "We are delighted that Jack has signed a professional contract with us.

"Jack is a player with great potential, with an ability to find the final ball and also score goals.

"Jack is a passionate and committed young player, he is not afraid of tackles and I am convinced he will have tremendous penetrative power in a few years.

"We have already seen Jack's qualities in both his first team performances and in training on a regular basis, and we look forward to Jack being an important part of our first team for years to come."

The Hertfordshire-born prodigy became the youngest ever player to play a league game for the club when he came off the bench at Blackburn in September. He is also Arsenal's only fifth 16-year-old to feature in the Champions League after his substitute appearance against Dynamo Kyiv.

In addition, Wilshere also scored his first Arsenal goal on his full competitive debut in a 6-0 Carling Cup win over Sheffield United.

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