David Moyes must shoulder the full blame for Jack Wilshere leaving West Ham United as a free agent this summer, after the midfielder stated his anger at being frozen out at the London Stadium.
Wilshere has revealed in an interview with BBC Sport how he felt there were no roads left to explore other than heading through the exit door this summer, as he could not face the prospect of another year on the sidelines with no realistic optimism of featuring.
The 28-year-old joined the Irons in 2018 following the expiration of his contract with Arsenal, but only managed to earn 19 first-team games in claret and blue as he continued to suffer with ankle and groin injuries.
Wilshere is adamant that he had more to offer Moyes following the restart in June, having returned to a level of fitness after a groin strain that the former England international felt deserved more than just 35 minutes as a substitute over two appearances in nine games.
“When I came back after lockdown, having worked so hard to get back to a good level of fitness and was training every day, it just didn’t feel like my opportunity was ever going to come. And, of course, it didn’t,” the boyhood Irons fan said.
“I didn’t like it, but we were in the middle of a relegation battle, so I understood the team had to come first. But when we came back for pre-season, it was the same again. I thought everyone would be given a fresh chance and a clean slate to impress but it never happened for me.”
“People will say what they want and footballers get paid well, but there is nothing more draining and saps your confidence more than when you know you are not going to play, that no matter what you do in training, or what the other players are doing, even if you lose 3-0, you are not going to get an opportunity,” he added.
“I didn’t want to be around that and in that environment.”
If Wilshere was fit enough to contend for places in the tail end of last season, then Moyes must shoulder the full blame for the midfielder feeling the need to terminate his contract so he can salvage what could be the twilight years of a career blighted by injuries.
Moyes was within his right to only favour the 28-year-old from the bench during Project Restart as West Ham lost just once in the final seven Premier League games, but the chance of a clean slate should have at least been offered come pre-season rather than continuing to freeze the 34-cap international out.
Wilshere’s talents have forever been known since he broke through into the Arsenal first-team, and had it not been for the seemingly relentless injuries then who knows what sort of player the midfielder Steven Gerrard tipped to become England captain would have become.
Moyes can always point to Arsene Wenger’s fears over Wilshere failing to fulfil his full potential due to the injuries in attempting to justify why he overlooked the midfielder so often, but the former Arsenal boss also offered the reasons why he deserved opportunities.
“I’m sad about this injury because Jack is a great player with a great football brain,” Wenger said in 2017, via quotes by The Guardian, after Wilshere suffered a hairline fracture to his left fibula whilst on loan with AFC Bournemouth.
“His career has been stopped by many injuries. At the top level, the most important thing is consistency. When a player has been out for a while, the game is of such an intensity that it always takes you a while to get your confidence back.
“You have to be consistently present. When you look at all the players who are at the top level in the world like Cristiano Ronaldo, these guys play 50 or 60 games a year. They have the luck of not being stopped by injuries. You’re always sad when a guy of Jack’s quality is stopped by problems.”
Moyes, though, did not seem to have that same patience when it came to Wilshere, and thus the blame for the midfielder’s exit this summer rests solely on the Scottish coach’s shoulders.