There are sometimes horrible parallels in football that encompasses fate and circumstance. Such is the link between Arsenal players Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere.
The Young Englishman’s early Arsenal career had been ravaged by injuries, whilst Cazorla’s went from strength to strength on his arrival in 2012 from Malaga.
Cazorla was injured in 2016 after he sustained an Achilles problem during their 6-0 Champions League win over Ludogorets.
His foot became so infected that the medical team considered amputation but thankfully he recovered.
Meanwhile, Wilshere was cast aside and sent on loan to Bournemouth to prove his fitness and durability, initially doing well but he then suffered yet another injury.
The Spaniard underwent a series of operations to resurrect his career but faced one setback after another attempting to reach fitness. Wilshere in turn, recovered sufficiently to put together a string of impressive appearances for the gunners, which even merited an England recall.
Early in the season, Wilshere’s boss, Arsene Wenger had told the player that he would be allowed to leave but due to circumstances and the sudden turn around in the player’s fortunes, he offered him a new contract and even made him captain in Koscielny’s absence.
This just serves to illustrate how a footballer’s fortunes can seesaw between extreme highs and devastating lows and how one player’s bad luck can inadvertently be of benefit to another. It’s highly likely that had Cazorla not sustained his injury, Wilshere would already be playing for another club, yet, here he is, still negotiating with the club to extend his stay.
Wilshere has had his niggles this season but they have been slight and insignificant. He seems more robust, physically fit and focused and this, combined with his undoubted talent have seen him play regularly for the north London club.
Cazorla continues to struggle for fitness and sadly, he may not recover sufficiently to appear in an Arsenal strip again. How sad for a truly magical player who has given so many people, so much pleasure. If he has to retire, he will be remembered, not only for his sublime skills and creativity but for always wearing a smile on the football pitch.
Wilshere’s immediate career is still unclear but he knows only too well how difficult it is to be deprived of the game. He also knows only too well, what is required to maintain one’s focus during long spells on the sidelines and the subsequent isolated training sessions that follow and as a result will be highly sympathetic to Cazorla’s plight.
We wait to see what will happen to both players and if they will remain at Arsenal in the summer. This tale acts as a reminder, that although the rewards of playing at the highest level are great, there can be another side to professional football that isn’t as attractive.
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