Jack Wilshere recalled the awe inspiring presence Thierry Henry had at Arsenal that brought out the best in everyone.

The former Gunner was one of the brightest prospects to ever break into the Arsenal first team when he made his debut in 2008, aged 16.

Only Fabregas has appeared for Arsenal at a younger age

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Only Fabregas has appeared for Arsenal at a younger age

And the influence of Arsenal’s ‘GOAT’ likely helped him on the way

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And the influence of Arsenal’s ‘GOAT’ likely helped him on the way

Going on to win two FA Cups, 34 England caps and star in the Champions League, Wilshere had a rapid start to life at the Emirates, and has revealed a baptism of fire before even making his first team debut.

Arguably Arsenal’s and the Premier League’s greatest ever player, Henry, featured in some training sessions with Wilshere when the Englishman was just 14.

The Drivetime co-host on talkSPORT said: “Growing up in the academy watching him [Henry] all the time in games, going to Highbury to watch him. 

“Never really meeting him or anything then, part time in 2006, I trained with him a few times at 14, when he was coming back from injury, never in a full session, but if he was doing a rehab session and there were only a few players.

“I remember going over there once, it was him, [Freddie] Ljungberg and Ray Parlour, Ray Parlour wasn’t there but he was back training for some reason but I was 14.

When asked by talkSPORT host Andy Goldstein how he felt matching up against Henry, Wilshere replied emphatically.

Wilshere quickly went on to star against Barcelona

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Wilshere quickly went on to star against Barcelona

“How do you think?!” he said. “I wouldn’t even say I was nervous, I was scared. 

“I just remember thinking ‘right don’t mess anything up, even if it’s a simple pass, don’t mess it up, don’t misplace a pass, make sure your touch is right’.”

Parlour, who was playing for Hull City at the time but occasionally trained with Arsenal, remembers Wilshere’s breakthrough well.

Despite the 30-year-old admitting he was scared by Henry, it wasn’t noticeable to Parlour, who was just as impressed by Wilshere as he was by Cesc Fabregas.

Wilshere and Fabregas were clearly superstars in the making

Wilshere and Fabregas were clearly superstars in the making

Parlour said: “There were two players who stood out for me, Fabregas was one, and then Jack Wilshere. 

“He was only a young kid but he wasn’t phased by Thierry Henry or [Robert] Pires or those sort of guys so I thought ‘this kid is going to be very very good’.

“The thing is when you’re 14-years-old, playing with such good players, you’re going to be nervous but he wasn’t, he looked like he wasn’t phased at 14.

“Straight away you knew he had a lot of talent, he had a lot to learn, to improve as a player, and can you handle the big occasion, which he could.

“I thought, ‘this kid’s going to go all the way,’ which he did, in the end he was in the side [at 16].”

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