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"There’s nowhere better to play football than Wembley," says Jack Wilshere, at the Utilita Kids and Girls Cup

Jack Wilshere
(Image credit: Utilita Kids Cup)

Former Arsenal star Jack Wilshere has been helping out at the Utilita Kids Cup - and he says that there's nowhere better to play than Wembley Stadium.

The annual tournament gives 22,000 boys and girls a chance to take to the Wembley pitch in four finals, and at the competition's launch at Charlton Athletic's The Valley, Wilshere talked about how Wembley was the best stadium that he had ever personally played at. 

"It’s a competition for girls and boys across the whole of the UK," says Wilshere about his involvement, "That’s really exciting for them. There’s no better place to play football than Wembley, especially when fans are there."

"If I was a kid coming through and I had the opportunity to play there, it would’ve just been a dream come true. So I’d just say [to the kids] to work hard - and enjoy it, too."

Wilshere has spent a few months out of the game as he assesses his options, having been released by AFC Bournemouth last season. The midfielder is perhaps best-known, however, for his spell at Arsenal where he came through the ranks and won three FA Cups.

The former Gunners no.10 was himself a former football prodigy - and he grew up alongside footballing legends.

"When I was in the academy, Arsenal used to win trophies all the time," he recalls. "I remember when the team went unbeaten when I was 12 and there was a huge buzz around the place. It was amazing." 

After Arsenal, Wilshere went onto West Ham. While the Utilita Kids and Girls Cup gives children the chance to represent their local EFL team, Wilshere knows that feeling very well - he grew up supporting the Hammers and now tells the kids involved with this tournament that playing for your local side is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take advantage of.

"I went on to West Ham and played for a club that I supported growing up so that was a dream come true for me as well," he reflects. "If you’d have told me as a kid that I’d play even one game for West Ham, I would’ve taken it."

Utilita have partnered with the EFL to power one of Britain’s biggest junior football tournaments, The Utilita Kids and Girls Cup. As part of Utilita’s work to help kids keep active through playing football, over 22,000 schoolchildren will take part in the six-a-side tournament for the chance to represent their local EFL club and compete for a once in a lifetime appearance at Wembley. To find out more, visit www.efl.com