The Chile national team have declared that Alexis Sanchez will be fit for Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against Uruguay, despite Arsene Wenger’s insistence that the decision to play him would be “suicidal”.
Sanchez suffered a reported hamstring injury in training with Chile, missing last week’s clash with Colombia, and Arsenal are now concerned that their star player could be sidelined for weeks should he aggravate his existing condition in Tuesday’s game.
But Chile’s coach, Juan Antonio Pizzi, has said that Sanchez is ready to return, along with Manchester City’s Claudio Bravo and the Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal.
“Sánchez was not ready for the game in Colombia, but we knew the injury was a small one and we could have him for this match. The three of them [Sánchez, Vidal and Bravo] are available to me for tomorrow,” Pizzi told a press conference.
Speaking about Sanchez, he said: “It’s not that he hasn’t trained, he’s trained every day, even when we were in Colombia he did a different kind of work. Yesterday he took part in full training.”
Pizzi also dismissed any suggestion the injured players’ clubs had sought to influence his selection decisions.
“At no time have we received pressure from any club. My stance is that I will never use a player who is not fit or capable of playing,” he added.
“All of the clubs can remain calm, we are very respectful of our players. The health of our players is paramount, we will never force any player who has not got the medical all-clear.”
This follows Wenger’s recent remarks in which he outlined his concern that Sanchez’s long-term fitness is at risk.
“I believe that with a hamstring injury, we have to get access for our medical staff to the MRI scan to see what grade it is, how bad it is and make absolutely sure they don’t make any suicidal decision that could harm his future for two or three months,” Wenger told beIN Sports.
“That is absolutely important. It’s a grey area between the national team and the club team and of course they look at their own results, which I can understand, but we have to preserve the health of Alexis Sanchez.”