JACK Wilshere revealed how conversations with close friend Steve Cook helped him through a difficult spell during lockdown when he was searching for a new club.

Wilshere left West Ham United by mutual consent in October last year, after struggling for game time under David Moyes.

That left the former England international without any affiliation to a football club for the first time in his career, having come through the Arsenal academy from the age of nine, right through to signing his first professional deal in 2009.

Wilshere spent a couple of months maintaining his fitness in a park on his own, before contacting then Cherries boss Jason Tindall around Christmas, to ask if he could come and train with the club he spent a fruitful 2016-17 campaign at on loan.

Tindall duly obliged and Wilshere went on to earn a contract with Cherries on a deal until the end of the season.

And someone who had been very keen to see the 29-year-old back at Vitality Stadium was captain Steve Cook, with the pair developing a close bond the last time Wilshere was on the south coast.

"He (Cook) was a good friend of mine and we’ve been good friends since I was (last) here," Wilshere told the Daily Echo.

"He was really good when I first came here. Obviously I had Benik (Afobe) as a friend but it was nice, because I was nervous when I first came here.

"I’d always been at one club my whole career and I was stepping out of my comfort zone to join a group of lads who had been together for years and been through a lot.

"He was good for me. Not just Steve, but a lot of the players and a lot of the players that aren’t here now like Franno (Simon Francis), Charlie Daniels and Harry Arter were really good with me as well.

"With Steve, I spoke to Steve a lot, even through the lockdown and everything and when I left West Ham, even picking the phone up to a friend, Steve was one of them. I speak to him a lot on the phone.

"He was onto me for while actually saying ‘come down and train with us, come down and train with us’, but at the time it probably wasn’t the right timing and then eventually I listened to him and picked up the phone to Jase."

Wilshere has made 13 appearances for Cherries since returning, scoring twice.