Arsenal Football Club is delighted to announce that Jack Wilshere has signed professional terms with the Club.

Jack, who turned 17 on New Year’s Day and was therefore eligible to sign his first professional contract, has already started to make an impact with his performances for the first team as he continues his excellent development at the Club.

Jack, an England Youth International, made Arsenal history making his full first team debut, coming on as an 81st minute substitute against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park in the Premier League on September 30, 2008. At 16 years and 256 days, he became the youngest ever player to represent Arsenal in both the League and the Premier League.

Just 10 days later, aged 16 years and 266 days, Jack made his first full competitive start for the Club in the Carling Cup Third Round victory over Sheffield United, capping off a fine performance with his debut goal for the first team in the 6-0 win.

Jack, who comes from Hitchin in Hertfordshire, made further history for Arsenal when he came on as a substitute in the 76th minute during the UEFA Champions League home match against Dynamo Kyiv on November 25, 2008. At 16 years 329 days, he became the youngest ever player to represent Arsenal in European competitions.

At Arsenal since he was nine years old, left-footed Jack, who to date has made seven first team appearances, was the youngest player taking part in the first team’s Austrian pre-season training camp in July, aged just 16. He scored twice in the friendly with Burgenland, and netted again against Stuttgart. He then played both games in the Emirates Cup, impressing against both Juventus and Real Madrid.

Arsène Wenger said: “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.”

Everyone at the Club is looking forward to Jack’s continued contribution and development with Arsenal in the forthcoming years.

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5 Jan 2009