Arsenal v Southampton: Jack Wilshere will be 'used when needed', says Arsene Wenger

The Arsenal manager is wary of aggravating the England midfielder's ankle

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger knows he will have to tread carefully with Jack Wilshere if the England midfielder is to last the distance for club and country this season.

The 21-year-old featured heavily in each of England's internationals at Wembley this week and last, where Roy Hodgson's men suffered back-to-back defeats.

Wenger played down any talk of a row with the Football Association of how Wilshere was deployed by Hodgson. However, the Gunners boss remains acutely aware of the need to avoid burn-out with Wilshere, who was ruled out of contention for both Euro 2012 and the London Olympics later the same summer because of injury.

"We play 60 games per year and Jack will certainly have to be managed - unless his pains go completely, then he will be used when needed," said Wenger, who will have forward Theo Walcott available again following a two-month injury absence when Barclays Premier League action resumes with the visit of Southampton on Saturday.

"If there is an alert on his ankles, we will of course take advice from the medical department and use him when he can really be used."

Wenger continued: "I have been told by the medical team that there is no concern in the long term. He is just still recovering from his inflammation."

There had been reports Arsenal were at loggerheads with the FA over Hodgson's decision to use Wilshere, who came off the bench against Germany, twice over the international break.

Wenger, though, said: "There is no problem between the FA and Arsenal Football Club. I don't know where that idea comes from because he was supposed to play.

"He was available for England, they used him like they wanted and if he had played the two games I would have been perfectly happy.

"Two full games - there was no restriction there at all."

Wenger also confirmed England midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who also harbours hopes to go to the World Cup, remains on course to return from his knee injury at the start of 2014.

"I believe he is still at least one month away from competition but he has had no real setback," said Wenger.

"So the new year is a reasonable target."

Defender Per Mertesacker scored the winning goal to beat England 1-0 at Wembley on Tuesday.

Wenger confirmed preliminary talks over a new deal for the popular 6ft 6in centre-back had begun.

"We are in the process of talking, yes," he said.

"He has one and a half years to go, so that is a long time."

Arsenal will be without suspended midfielder Mathieu Flamini against the Saints, who have surprised with their rise up the table this season.

Mauricio Pochettino feels his men could stay the course and gatecrash the top four come May.

Wenger said: "You cannot rule anybody out. If they can keep the defensive record they have then they can be very ambitious.

"All the teams want to press and to win the ball back quickly - there's nothing special in there, but (Southampton) do it well and that is why they are efficient defensively."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
filmReview: In the face of all-round devastation, even Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson appears a little puny
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bright lights, big city: Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles by dusk
books
Sport
Harry Kane makes Paul Scholes' Premier League team of the season
footballPaul Scholes on the best players, managers and goals of the season - and the biggest disappointments
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor