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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee