Jack Wilshere has questioned Arsenal’s decision to sack club legend Steve Bould, ending his 33-year association with the club.
Bould spent over a decade at Arsenal as a player, making a total of 256 appearances in all competitions and helping them lift three league titles.
Following his retirement in 2000, Bould began his coaching career with the Gunners’ youth teams, leading the under-18s to back-to-back Premier Academy League titles and the 2009 FA Youth Cup.
In 2012, he was appointed as Arsene Wenger’s new assistant after Pat Rice’s retirement and he remained in the role until 2019, when he swapped jobs with Freddie Ljungberg and became under-23s boss.
However, after a disappointing campaign which saw the under-23s almost relegated from Premier League 2, Arsenal have parted ways with the 58-year-old.
Bould’s side only secured survival on the final day of the season, but he was without a total of 17 members of his squad at various points during the campaign after they were sent out on loan.
News of Bould’s departure first broke back in May and Arsenal have now officially confirmed the news.
Reacting on social media, former Gunners midfielder Wilshere questioned why the club had parted ways with a “proper Arsenal man”.
Writing on Twitter, he said: “Can’t believe it. Another proper Arsenal man gone! What is going on?? What a coach and what a guy… All the best bouldy”
Arsenal’s academy manager Per Mertesacker thanked Bould for his service, telling the club’s official website: “Steve has been a fantastic servant for us on and off the pitch.
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“His record as a player speaks for itself and he has been an inspiration to generations of young players coming through the academy.
“This has been a very hard decision to make. Steve’s contribution to the under-23s and the club as a whole has been huge and he will always be an important figure in our history.”
Technical director Edu added: “We are massively grateful to Steve for everything. He has helped develop so many top professionals and his experience and character has had a huge impact.
“I would like to add my thanks for his contribution and wish him and his family well for the future.”
Mertesacker has overseen a change in philosophy during his time in charge of the academy, with the former defender keen to send Arsenal’s youngsters out on loan to aid their development.
Speaking to Goal in 2019, he explained: “We are starting step-by-step to pick and choose the right clubs with the right players and we are building some relationships with clubs abroad.
“Still, we could loan them out here in England. So we are seeking out the opportunities for young players.
“We see it as a big advantage for our youngsters to have a big step in between, where they will be regular first-team players.
“Sometimes you get stuck in the U23s, first-team training bubble, where you are with the first team which looks nice but you need the competition.
“If the U23s competition is not good enough for you, in terms of the tempo, then you need to have a different step in between when you are not quite ready to play regular Premier League football.
“We need to pick the right clubs at the right time for these youngsters. It is something we are looking into deeper, as other clubs are doing this regularly and more often.
“We are trying to promote it and it creates more trust and gives them a little bit more time. Rather than forcing them into the first team, we have another step to evaluate these players.”