EXCLUSIVE: Wenger's friendly fire! Arsenal boss wants showdown talks with England manager Hodgson over Wilshere's use
23:00 GMT, 20 March 2013
02:00 GMT, 21 March 2013
Arsene Wenger will seek talks with England manager Roy Hodgson over his use of Jack Wilshere during the end-of-season internationals.
England face the Republic of Ireland on May 29 – 10 days after Arsenal’s final game of the season against Newcastle – before travelling to Rio de Janeiro to face Brazil on June 6.
Both games are friendlies and Arsenal manager Wenger is keen to liaise with Hodgson and the FA to establish a clear plan of how his midfielder should be utilised.
Sidelined: Jack Wilshere hasn't played since suffering an ankle knock in the north London derby
Engine: Wilshere is already a key man for England despite playing for the national side just seven times
Wenger was disappointed Wilshere played the full 90 minutes of the 2-1 friendly win over Brazil in February and, understandably, wants to avoid a similar scenario during the summer internationals.
Despite 17 months out with foot and ankle problems, Wilshere has been Arsenal’s best performer this season but Wenger wants Hodgson to go easy during the end-of-season international period, given Wilshere will have featured in what is likely to be an intense race for a top-four spot.
Wenger also wants Wilshere to have maximum rest ahead of next season, which looks set to be one of the most important in the Frenchman’s long tenure at Arsenal.
Wilshere is already showing signs of this season catching up with him. He is currently on the sidelines with an ankle injury picked up in the 2-1 defeat by Tottenham on March 3.
Wenger sent him on a mid-season break to Dubai to aid his recovery from the injury but the trip was also designed to recharge his batteries after a tiring 28-game season. Arsenal hope Wilshere will be able to return to first-team action for the visit of Reading on March 30 but it is more likely the 21-year-old will make his return against West Bromwich Albion on April 6 or Norwich seven days later.
Wenger faces more problems after Wojciech Szczesny’s father accused the manager of making his son a scapegoat and claimed Arsenal ‘played’ with the keeper’s fitness last season.
Szczesny, 22, was dropped for Arsenal’s
Champions League match against Bayern Munich last week after Wenger said
he had been mentally affected by his form, casting doubt over his
Talks: Arsene Wenger will seek clarification from Roy Hodgson on Wilshere's role in friendlies
Benched: Wojciech Szczesny's (right) dad Maciej criticised the Arsenal boss
His father, Maciej, who also played for Poland, told Polish newspaper Przeglad Sportowy: ‘Wenger already started to look for the scapegoat. It is not the way the boss should behave. Wojciech has had two serious injuries. He played with one in April and May (last year). He shouldn’t have agreed to play that time, but the coach insisted.
‘Wenger was playing with the young man’s good health and Wojciech agreed foolishly.
‘In my opinion Mr Wenger messed up a lot in April and May.
‘Then in August there was a foot (ankle) injury, after which he played almost instantly. After seven weeks out Wojciech trained for just seven days and played. How on earth can he be on his highest form’
Szczesny Snr added: ‘This last period has not been successful, however, I think my son can be the No 1 goalkeeper over 10 years. He just needs to come back to form.’
VIDEO: Interview with Arsenal and England star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain