Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports, Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere says he has unfinished business ahead of the Carabao Cup final on Sunday.
Wilshere’s Arsenal take on Manchester City at Wembley, live on Sky Sports Football from 3.30pm, looking for their first success in the competition since 1993.
They’ve been defeated in the final twice since, in 2007 and 2011; Wilshere himself played 90 minutes in the latter, a last-minute defeat by Birmingham City, a game in which Arsenal were overwhelming favourites.
A horrific mix-up between Laurent Koscielny and Wojciech Szczesny allowed Birmingham’s Obafemi Martins to grab the winner, and Wilshere recounted that day without much fondness.
“I remember we started the game a little bit nervous, and went 1-0 down,” he told Sky Sports. “And then we came straight back into the game, it woke us up, bounced back straight away and scored through Van Persie.
“From then on I remember dominating the game, I felt in the game that if we didn’t win in normal time it would go to extra-time and the fitter team would win, but then the freak moment happened. It left us all devastated, us and the fans, and it wasn’t a great day for us.
“In 2011 we were expected to win and I was convinced we were going to win and come home with silverware.”
Despite defeat that day, Wilshere says the disappointment helped him grow as a footballer, and he has since been part of two FA Cup victories at Wembley with Arsenal, in 2014 and 2015.
Arsenal vs Man City
February 25, 2018, 3:30pm
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“I think it helps as you grow up in football, you get more experience in these [situations]. I know we didn’t like it but I think it helped me in my career, it was a horrible feeling.
“We’ve won at Wembley in the FA Cup, and it was the best thing ever, totally different emotions and we don’t want to feel that again.
“We know that City will be tough, but we also know what it takes to win at Wembley, and we have a fantastic record there. It’s a final and anything can happen, and we’ll be ready.
“Since then we haven’t really been anywhere near in this competition. I want to add this trophy to my collection, and almost feel there is some unfinished business because of the 2011 final.”
Wilshere has impressed on his return to the fold this season, after a year on loan at Bournemouth in the 2016/17 campaign.
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The 26-year-old, who is hoping to be included in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad for Russia in 2018, says he never doubted he could return to form.
“I’m happy with the way I’ve been playing, and happy to be back. It was a long road back, and I never doubted myself, but it was nice to prove to myself I can fight and get into this team.
“I’m enjoying being back in the first-team fold here. I had a good year at Bournemouth, but the plan was to come back here.”
Watch the extended interview as Arsenal face Man City in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final, live on Sky Sports Football from 3.30pm.