Wenger: Wilshere was sick before Palace clash

The England international was substituted after a lacklustre display on the opening day of the new Premier League season but his coach reveals that he had been feeling unwell

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger defended Jack Wilshere after criticism of the midfielder’s performance against Crystal Palace on Saturday, revealing the player had been unwell in the run-up to the game at the Emirates.

The Gunners beat their fellow Londoners 2-1 on the opening day of the new Premier League season, with Aaron Ramsey snatching the points late on.

However, Wilshere had already been withdrawn by the time of the Gunners’ late winner, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain impressing in his place.

While Wenger conceded that Wilshere had struggled to impose himself against Palace, he pointed out that there had been mitigating circumstances.

“[Wilshere] was sick in the last few days and I felt he started to still miss some competitiveness,” the Frenchman told reporters. “I had options on the bench as well.”

Wenger also pointed out that that Wilshere should be afforded some time to build up some momentum given how much ankle trouble he has had to endure in recent seasons.

“Let’s give him games,” the Gunners boss implored. “For me, the most important thing for him is not to have any problem with his ankle.

“But it looks like he’s on the right way on that front. He looks sharper every week at the moment.”

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