Wenger admits he is still worried over Wilshere fitness

The England international came off the bench in the Gunners’ 3-1 win against Fulham and the Frenchman says he still has to be careful not to overuse the injury-prone 21-year-old

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says he still has to carefully manage Jack Wilshere’s playing time in the Gunners’ first team.

The 21-year-old has had long-standing problems with both his ankle and knee which has seen him sidelined for long periods over the past two seasons.

While the England international did start Arsenal’s first two games of the new campaign, Wenger admits he adopts a cautious approach in regards to planning the midfielder’s schedule.

“He was a bit tired [before the Fulham game] but it was more about giving him a rest,” Wenger told the club’s official website.

“He could have played but it made sense to give him a breather because we’re playing every three days at the moment. He is not 100 per cent yet, but he is 90 per cent.

“I’m a bit cautious because he’s had a few operations. I don’t want to make a mistake on the medical front and overuse him because the ankle is the most important part of any football player.

“I take always medical advice. If the ankle is not inflamed, if he has no pain, then we would not rest the player. If they say there is a little inflamed ankle, we would say ‘OK, let’s not [play him]. I do that with medical advice.

“I would be a bit more cautious with Jack [than with others]. Until we feel he is completely free from any risk, of course.”

Wenger understands the importance of an injury-free season for both Wilshere and the England national team ahead of this summer’s World Cup.

“It’s World Cup year but first England have to qualify and we now go into a really important period for England,” added the Arsenal boss. “It’s an important year for every single player because they all want to go to the World Cup.”

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