Jack Wilshere has opened his heart on the personal stress and anxiety he has suffered at family level whilst fighting for full return to fitness over the last three years.
Speaking to Athlete’s Stance it the Hammers midfielder – who has been a daily visitor to Rush Green this summer – has revealed the agonies of worry over his son Archie.
His son suffered mysterious daily seizures three years ago put Jack’s whole life and career in perspective, and how everything he now does is with seven-year-old boy, wife and two daughters at the forefront of his mind.
He revealed: “It was in 2016 and I picked up an injury in training, and it was tough to take, because I was making my way back to where I wanted to be. I came home and all of a sudden my four-year-old son was having seizures on the floor.
“It happened time and time again and it happened every day for three or four months. There were times when, in the middle of the night, I’d be rushing to the hospital.
“Me and my wife would sit up most nights because the seizures were mostly happening at night. We’d put him to bed but we couldn’t sleep because we didn’t know what was happening with him. We would just sit up. I just sort of forget about football. I can remember saying to my wife [Andriani]: ‘I’m not sure I can do this anymore.’
“It makes you realise that football isn’t everything. As men, we don’t like to show weakness and we don’t like to talk about things. A few people knew and that’s why I speak so highly of [his then-Arsenal manager] Arsene Wenger as well.
He said to me: ‘You deal with your son, you take out however long it takes’. And that’s why this injury took so long. People say: ‘He’s always injured, he’s injury prone, he’s never going to be fit,’ but they don’t realise what goes on behind closed doors.
“For the first four or five months of that rehab, I didn’t want to be rehabbing. I was in and out of hospitals, I wasn’t sleeping, and I didn’t really care to be honest. My main focus was him. I sort of switched off from the outside world a little bit, and it makes you change the way you think about things and life.
“I’m a footballer, and that’s great, but family comes first always. I try to be the best Dad and I try to spend as much time with them as I can. Everything I do is for them.”
“Thankfully now, my son is good. Thanks to the doctors and the specialists he’s good and under control now. He’s been asking me all the time ‘Dad, when are you back?’ and I want to come back for him.
Not just for him, but my daughter [Delilah] – she loves it – and my new baby [Siena] hasn’t seen me play football yet, so I need to do it for her as well.
“You should never give up. I want to play for as long as possible. I do genuinely love football. It’s my life, it’s my kids’ lives, we’re a football family. My goal is to get back in the team and win as many games as possible.