International friendlies on the way out, says Wenger

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The Independent Football

Arsène Wenger believes it will not be long before there is no room in the game's crowded schedules for international friendlies.

The Arsenal manager was at the Stade de France as a pundit for French television as England suffered their first defeat under Fabio Capello on Tuesday, and he feels such encounters have little meaning today.

"I am scared that in the modern game, there is no room any more for friendly internationals – not because countries take our players, just because people will not be interested in that any more," he said. "There is nothing at stake. People want to see competitive games. Maybe I am completely wrong but in the end you get people to travel and it is good as an experiment for a manager to work on things.

"But, is it feasible in the long term for people to travel and spend their money to watch this kind of game? I am not sure."

The Frenchman continued: "They are slowly starting to cut the number of international games because they have no meaning any more in the modern game. People want to see competitive games. You sit here today. You can't say England were fantastic or France were fantastic. Straight away you say, 'But it was only a friendly'."

The former Arsenal winger Robert Pires, meanwhile, has signed a one-year extension to his contract at Villarreal. The 34-year-old Frenchman, whose deal was due to expire in June, had hoped to extend his stay for another two years, but has had to settle for a single season.

Pires has made 26 appearances this season, starting 22 games and scoring twice. Villarreal are third in La Liga, two points behind Barcelona and six behind Real Madrid.

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