Wilshere has claimed ‘Arsenal fans are better’ than Man Utd supporters after FA Youth Cup victory

Tobias Gavelle
Arsenal U-18s Jack Wilshere coach on the touch line

Former Arsenal star and current academy coach Jack Wilshere hopes The Gunners can take ‘70,000’ to the Youth Cup final after his side booked their place last night.

A sold out crowd of 10,000 watched  16-year-old midfielder Myles Lewis-Skelly head home a 121st minute winner as Arsenal beat Premier League rivals Manchester city to win 2-1.

Speaking after the match, Wilshere said: “I think we can [get a big crowd], I don’t see why not. Obviously when we played Millwall in the first round, I thought it would be nice to get through to the final, I won it as a player, it would be nice. But then I tried to not think about that and we had some tough moments – Watford 2-0, Newcastle on the ropes, Cambridge 2-1 down.

“It hasn’t sunk in [that we are in the final]. It’s a special feeling and it will be a very special occasion, one of the best in my life in my opinion. At the moment it’s a bit raw still.

“I watched the Youth Cup final last year [between Nottingham Forest and Manchester United] and there was 60,000.  And I know that our fans are better than Man United fans, so we’ll have 70,000.”

Wilshere’s under-18s side have recorded many late victories in the cup run, scoring late on against Newcastle and Cambridge, and needed one more last gasp goal to see them through to the final.

Speaking to reporters after the match, Wilshere praised his youth teams attitude, he said: “I think back to my days as a player and that is in the Arsenal DNA.

“When you walk around the training ground and you see never give up, play until the last minute, quotes from Arsene [Wenger]– that’s in our DNA. I think Mikel [Arteta] has done a top job of using that to get this winning feeling through the whole club. I’ve said so many times before, if the first team keep raising the bar, then we have to. I thought we really pushed that tonight.”

Wilshere, who played 197 times for the Gunners and won two FA Cups with the side, described last night’s victory as one of the best of his career.

He added: “Honestly, and right now it’s obviously fresh, but that feeling…I can’t even explain what it feels like, that moment.

“It’s relief, joy, love for the players, emotions – everything. For me, right now, it feels like one of the top moments of my career as coach, obviously as a coach as I am young coach, but as a player as well it feels like it’s up there.”

Arsenal will now host the FA Youth Cup final on April 29, and will take on the winners of the other semi-final between  Southampton and West Ham.

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