Jack Wilshere was certain it was all over. At 26-years-young he was resigned to accept the fact. His football career now destined for no more than a meander in mediocrity; the upper echelons of the game fading from view — and fast. His had been a cruel, cruel summer. The first domino had fallen in May when a crooked-nosed, bumbling idiot of an England manager made the huge mistake of envisioning Football Coming Home without “Super Jack” in his team. This, despite a Herculean 12 starts in the Premier League for Arsenal last season and a masterful showing against Europa League giants BATE Borisov. What a waste of a campaign, Jack thought to himself. He got the feeling Southgate hadn’t bothered tuning into ITV4 once this past year. Then came June. From an idiot to an idiota to put the final nail in Jack’s coffin. (Coffin being apt terminology.) The Count Dracula-evoking Unai Emery worked swiftly to bury the player’s Arsenal career. Of course, Jack had no qualms with the new manager’s reasoning that Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka — in place of him, “The Next Gascoigne” — were the midfield duo to lead the Gunners to Europa League qualification next term. But man, the thought of leaving Arsenal — his Arsenal — did make him sore. Jack’s agent told him not to worry. The calls would come flooding in, he said. But the phone remained silent throughout June – eerily silent, as if it were the Clock End at The Emirates on a match day. Now he was anxious. By July’s arrival the only concrete offer had come from Fenerbahce in the Turkish Süper Lig. Turkey, Jack thought. Well, it could be worse. He’d been on holiday there before: two weeks all-inclusive, nasty batch of sunburn, decent kebabs and a plethora of shisha bars to smoke the balmy evenings away. He pictured himself playing perfectly-weighted through balls to Roberto Soldado while Martin Škrtel barked orders at him from behind. No, he couldn’t do it. No way. And besides, the Turkish health care system was stretched as it was without the added burden of treating his own ailments. Then came the call that would change everything for Jack. He felt a wave of euphoria sweep through his entire being as he picked up the phone to hear Mauricio Pochettino’s warm, comforting voice at the other end asking him to sign for Tottenham Hotspur. The manager assured Jack that his professional career was not over; that he could still play a major role at a top Premier League club. Without hesitation, Jack accepted the offer. After the call Jack had ample time to reflect. He considered how life would pan out at Tottenham. He basked in ebullience at the thought of signing his contract as Pochettino rested an embracing arm over his shoulders. He thought nervously about meeting his heroes: Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli. He’d always wanted to meet them. He had tried, naturally, in North London derbies gone by. Although, to his dismay, he’d never managed to get close enough to any of them on the pitch. Jack’s mind also danced back to past sins etched in his memory. He regretted singing those songs equating his new club to excrement; he longed to undo the night he spat at a black cab driver wearing a Tottenham cap. He didn’t mean any offence, obviously. It was only because of his lack of noteworthy contributions on the pitch at Arsenal that he needed to ensure their credulous supporters would adore him by any means possible. But that was all in the past. Now Jack stood in the changing rooms at Hotspur Way; his first day at Tottenham was upon him. He gazed intently at himself in the mirror; beads of sweat lashing down his forehead as the butterflies in his knotted stomach flew in loop-de-loops. You’ve got this, he reassuringly told the apprehensive reflection staring back at him. After steadying himself, Jack then proceeded to fill up the water bottles, cut the oranges, correctly order the training kits, boots and bibs before heading outside to the training pitches. He trimmed the grass, filled-in the white lines, moved the goalposts into position and — according to his manager’s carefully devised plan — placed cones down and mannequins upright. Approaching the end of his tasks, Jack saw that Pochettino had arrived for training and was awaiting the rest of his squad. The manager beckoned his new signing over. “Phenomenal job, Jack,” he said with a beaming smile. “Same again tomorrow, please.” Jack Wilshere, overwhelmed with gratification, returned a grin before heading to his car to make the journey home. At last, he had finally found his level.