Football: Wenger hoping for Wright recall

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The Independent Online
ARSeNE WENGER, the Arsenal manager, said yesterday he hopes that Glenn Hoddle will give Ian Wright a psychological lift by asking the injured striker to join the England squad's preparation for next week's friendly against Portugal at Wembley.

Wright has been out for the last 10 weeks with a muscle injury but should be fit to start playing reserve team matches in a fortnight.

Wenger, who expects Wright to play in the first team before the end of the season, said: "It would be great for him to be with England. I have not mentioned it to Glenn Hoddle as I do not want to put pressure on him, but if asked, I will tell him it will be a positive move.

"Muscle injuries are very difficult for players psychologically. Unlike a break, you never know when it is ready for you to give 100 per cent. Ian lives for football. He wants to join the team and be ready for England in the World Cup. It is hard for him to be patient, and maybe we allowed him to come back too early before.

"If he plays before the end of April, he will still have six weeks to the World Cup. He remains a very important player for us. He has not lost the ability to score goals."

Wenger was less enthusiastic about the prospect of Tony Adams, David Seaman and Ray Parlour being summoned for the Wembley game as Arsenal will face five League matches in 16 days afterwards. Manchester United will, however, be similarly affected - though how many players from either side start the World Cup warm-up remains to be seen.