Wenger 'furious' at England call-up for Jack Wilshere

Jack Wilshere Arsenal

Not again! Wilshere's only just back from a long lay-off after injury sustained on England duty

BY Bill Mann LAST UPDATED AT 10:54 ON Fri 9 Nov 2012

ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger is said to be "furious" at Roy Hodgson's decision to call up Jack Wilshere to the England squad. The 20-year-old midfielder returned recently from a 17-month lay-off following an ankle injury, and the Arsenal manager believes the last thing he needs is the added burden of England duty.

The Three Lions travel to Sweden next week for a meaningless friendly and Wenger is adamant that Wilshere shouldn't be going. "I wouldn't like to come out on my feelings on that because at the moment, they are not very positive," said Wenger, when asked about Wilshere's inclusion in the squad. "You know what I think, that it is early for him."

The Daily Mirror reports that Hodgson has assured Wenger that Wilshere will only feature for 45 minutes, but that's still be 45 minutes too many for the Arsenal manager. Wilshere sustained his ankle injury playing for England against Switzerland in the summer of 2011, and Wenger is fearful the young playmaker may pick up another knock on Wednesday.

"Of course I would rather he was not called up at all," explained Wenger. "But I have no choice. If they call him up, they call him up. But, first of all, he was not injured with Arsenal, he has been injured with England. It's very difficult with Jack. He's a player who doesn't hold back. He doesn't know how to do that."

That was clear against Manchester United last Saturday when Wilshere was sent off on 68 minutes for a second rash tackle, a challenge that was more tired than malicious. Wilshere said subsequently that perhaps he should "take it easy a bit" as he works his way back to full fitness.

In truth, though Wilshere has shown some sweet touches for Arsenal since his return to first-team action, he has not justified his call-up for England.

Wenger certainly believes it would be in Wilshere's best interests to have a week off as he serves his one-match suspension for the red card. "He has played three games now," said Wenger. "It's good to have a little break after three games... I think he needs ten days of good recovery."

It's not the first time Wenger and England have clashed over Wilshere and, anyway, the Frenchman is no fan of midweek international friendlies. "I believe the friendly games are there as well to help some federations to raise some money by playing against big teams," he moaned.

"Basically there are a lot of politics behind these games as well because when you see some teams travelling during that period, you think it is more to pay back some corporation rather than preparing a team for the next official game." · 

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.