England manager Roy Hodgson denies striking deal with Arsenal over involvement of Jack Wilshere

There are concerns about the midfielder's fitness ahead of the qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine

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The Independent Football

England boss Roy Hodgson insists he has not struck a deal with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger over Jack Wilshere's involvement in next month's World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine.

Wenger is still handling Wilshere with care given his dire injury record, and must have winced at some of the physical challenges the player faced during Tuesday night's Champions League play-off victory over Fenerbahce.

The Gunners chief hinted earlier this week that Hodgson might follow suit and leave Wilshere out of the Wembley encounter with Moldova on September 6 to allow the 21-year-old maximum preparation time for the much tougher assignment in Ukraine four days later.

However, Hodgson has spoken to Wenger about his England contingent and he is adamant no demand was made.

"I speak to Arsene quite regularly and he's not said anything to me about it," said Hodgson.

"As far as I am concerned, he fully realises that Jack Wilshere is an integral and important part of the England team.

"We play four days apart and he expects him to play his part."

Hodgson does have a plan in mind for the double-header though, even though there are many domestic and European fixtures that need to be played before he has a clear picture of who will be available from the 27-man squad he unveiled at Wembley on Tuesday.

"It would be foolish to talk about line-ups for the Ukraine game before we've played Moldova," he said.

"I do have a pretty clear idea of what my intended starting XI will be - I've been building up to it.

"There are players who have come onto the scene very late who will have to work very hard to break into that starting XI.

"I'm sure they understand that without needing to be told.

"But the reason for picking 27 players is twofold; there are a lot of games to be played before they meet up and also we've got a good time together.

"That means it's a useful time for me to see these players because after these two games there will be two more games and hopefully more after that."