Arsenal will tell the England manager, Roy Hodgson, they do not want Jack Wilshere to play in next month's friendly match away to Sweden, however keen the national team are for the sort of boost that the 20 year-old prodigy gave his club on Saturday when returning for the first time in 17 months. Hodgson, who had hoped to watch Wilshere in the Capital One Cup at Reading in midweek, will be disappointed to learn that not only will he not be playing there, but that Arsène Wenger does not want him on international duty in a fortnight either.
Wenger has been in conflict with the Football Association before over the use of his younger players; notably when England have wanted Theo Walcott and then Wilshere at successive European Under-21 Champion-ships. Walcott went but Wilshere did not, and after Saturday's game the manager fired the first shot in the latest skirmish.
"It is a friendly," he said. "Jack should skip that. What is important now is that he gets back to full fitness for this team. Once he is back he will play for England again."
After suggesting jocularly: "I will call the Queen if needed," he added rather more seriously: "If it's a friendly, a full game would be too much at the moment. I will speak about it with Roy, but what is important now is that he gets back to his level. People have to be a little bit patient to see the best of him again. Even if he's not 100 per cent today, he still showed in aspects of the game that he is a classy player."
Wilshere himself admitted he could hardly stop smiling in his first senior start for so long.
"It's been very tough, it's tough for any player," he said. "There are some days when you just don't want to be in, when the boys are going out [training], that gets to you, but I'm happy to be back now and hopefully can push on. I'm not sure how long it will take to feel 100 per cent. It's my first long-term injury. Today after 60 minutes my legs were going so maybe the next time 70 minutes, then 80."
He lasted until three-quarters of the way through a game that an increasingly critical Emirates crowd would have found even more frustrating but for the joy of seeing their young hero's return. A win bonus nevertheless seemed unlikely, even against the Premier League's bottom club, once he departed, especially after a misfiring Santi Cazorla wasted the best chance of the first 80 minutes. Stephane Mbia's indiscipline then brought a red card and if Queen's Park Rangers could not complain about that decision they had every right to feel aggrieved that Mikel Arteta was not given offside before finally beating the oustanding Julio Cesar.
The suggestion that Ryan Nelsen had moved off the pitch was clearly incorrect and the QPR manager, Mark Hughes, did well to remain so restrained.
"We're certainly frustrated with the referee's decisions today," he said. "We're down to 10 men, we don't expect a helping hand but we expect the people to get the decisions right – the ones that affect the outcome of the game. In our games, the key decisions seem to affect the outcome."
Those games have not been going Rangers' way and now they need to pick up points, starting at home to Reading next Sunday.
The owner, Tony Fernandes, refrained for once from commenting directly on the performance but retweeted praise and sympathy from one supporter pointing out what a hard programme they have had.
Arsenal: (4-2-3-1) Mannone; Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Santos; Arteta, Wilshere; Cazorla, Podolski (Gervinho, 70); Giroud.
QPR: (4-4-1-1) Julio Cesar; Bosingwa, Mbia, Nelsen, Traore; Wright-Phillips, Granero, Diakite, Taarabt; Hoilett; Zamora.
Sent off: QPR Mbia. Booked: Arsenal Giroud. QPR Taarabt, Granero. Man of the match Julio Cesar. Match rating 6/10. Possession: Arsenal 70%. QPR 30%. Attempts on target: Arsenal 11. QPR 3. Referee A Taylor (Cheshire). Attendance 60,103.Reuse content