Jack Wilshere has revealed he found his final year at West Ham draining as he knew he would not get opportunities in the team despite being fit.
While the England international has suffered a number of frustrating injuries in the last five years which have stopped him playing regularly, he did recover from a groin problem to be available for the Hammers' final run of games towards the end of last season.
However, he made just two substitute Premier League appearances in victories against Chelsea and Norwich, totalling 35 minutes, and has since been released by the club, though he did feature in their 5-1 victory over Hull in the Carabao Cup earlier this term.
He told BBC Sport: “People will say what they want and footballers get paid well, but there is nothing more draining and saps your confidence more than when you know you are not going to play, that no matter what you do in training, or what the other players are doing, even if you lose 3-0, you are not going to get an opportunity. I didn’t want to be around that and in that environment.
"Last season, when I came back after lockdown, having worked so hard to get back to a good level of fitness and was training every day, it just didn’t feel like my opportunity was ever going to come. And, of course, it didn’t.”
Wilshere is still on the lookout for his next club and admitted game time is one of his priorities.
He added: "It is important to find a club where I am going to play, be an important player and be happy. I don't want to rush into anything. It has to be the right team in the right country. I am open to Europe or wherever.
"I am the type of player who wants to have the ball. I understand there is another side to the game and I enjoy that but I would like to be in a team who has the ball.
"I am not naive enough to think I am going to sign for a club and play straight away. There is a process to it. You have to train with the team, get to know your teammates, maybe come off the bench a couple of times. I want to get that process going but it has to be the right thing."