Arsenal news

Arsenal wait on Wilshere fitness

February 16, 2013
By ESPN staff

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will not risk playing Jack Wilshere against Blackburn in the FA Cup on Saturday afternoon if he is not convinced the midfielder is fully fit.

• Wenger tips CL glory
•  Blog: Rotating towards Wembley

Wilshere, 21, has been the heartbeat of the Arsenal side in recent weeks but sustained a thigh injury during Arsenal's 1-0 win at Sunderland last Saturday.

After returning from a 14-month injury lay-off in October, Wenger is wary that his young star might suffer a burnout and, with vital games on the horizon, is not prepared to take a chance with him - especially after he played 90 minutes for England against Brazil at Wembley last week.

"I will not take a risk," Wenger said. "[That is because I have] the rest of the season in mind and what happened to him before.

"There was no big issue on that [playing 90 minutes for England]. What I said after the game was that I could understand, England were winning and he was the best player. It is difficult to take the best player off when you are beating Brazil.

"Maybe it is a friendly but it still has meaning for the confidence of the country, so I could understand that."

Laurent Koscielny, who had to pull out during the warm-up at Sunderland with a calf problem, and captain Thomas Vermaelen are also doubts for the game.

Be part of the Budweiser 2012-13 FA Cup fan film. Share your photos on Twitter: #tothedream