FFT speaks to Arsenal hero Jack Wilshere:

This piece on Arsenal hero Jack Wilshere was originally in FourFourTwo magazine. Subscribe now! (opens in new tab)

The tunnel can feel lonely. It’s a place for reflection before a match, as you tune out the clink of studs in the darkness and rumble of expectation from outside. It’s lonelier still if the opponents you’re sharing it with are arguably the greatest side of all time.

In February 2011, Barcelona were the visitors in north London. Jack Wilshere was just 19 years old, breathing deeply, but already an Arsenal regular in a team full of 20-somethings. To his right, looking a little more relaxed, were seven World Cup winners in the opposition’s starting XI. That didn’t even include Lionel Messi, Ballon d’Or holder for the last two years, and who didn’t even swing a glance at Wilshere. You’d forgive the midfielder’s heart for racing a little quicker.

(Image credit: PA)

“I remember looking over at the likes of Messi, Xavi and Iniesta – I was so nervous,” Wilshere tells FourFourTwo, gazing into the distance as he returns to that famous night. “These were guys I’d seen win the Champions League just two years earlier. They were the best team in the world.”

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