Jack Wilshere studying for coaching badges at Arsenal with Mertesacker
Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has already started working on his coaching badges, and joked he may be in line to become Per Mertesacker's assistant at the club's academy.
Wilshere has made an impressive return on the pitch for Arsenal this season after recovering from another injury, but is already making plans for life after his playing career.
The 25-year-old told the Arsenal Weekly Podcast that he and Mertesacker are working together towards getting a UEFA coaching license and that he already started his studies while on loan at Bournemouth last season.
"A few of the lads [at Bournemouth] were talking about doing their Level Two [badge] and I thought, I'm going to jump on it," Wilshere said. "I really enjoyed it.
"While I'm fit and playing and healthy I might not need it. But even if I've got another 10 years left in me I don't want to be at the end of my career and maybe have a year out and be thinking, 'what do I want to do?' and then have to go through Level Two, UEFA B, UEFA A.
"I'm doing my UEFA B at the minute. Luckily I've got great facilities here at Arsenal, great players and the PFA and the FA have been great and really helpful. I'm going to complete that and then see what I want to do."
Mertesacker is set to take over as Arsenal's academy director when he retires as a player after this season, and Wilshere said the club captain convinced him to continue his studies.
"It was Per's idea," Wilshere said. "I told him we'd done it at Bournemouth and we were chatting about it. He said, 'If you want to do it with me, I'm doing it.' I was up for it. I think Per's going to be great at that [academy] job. He might need an assistant one day, you never know!"
Mertesacker, meanwhile, said having a teammate to study with makes the whole process easier.
"It's helpful to see people in different environments and situations where you go together and improve together," he said. "I'm quite happy that we do it together and that I'm not on my own and that we can share information and share the work. Hopefully, we can improve and get our B Licence."
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.