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Wenger's Wilshere warning for Pearce

Arsene Wenger has warned that England risk losing Jack Wilshere for the Euro 2012 qualifiers in September if the Arsenal midfielder is selected for the European U-21 Championship this summer.

Wenger has stressed that the England senior team as well as Arsenal could suffer if Wilshere's season is extended until June 25 so that he can play for the U-21s.

Wenger would then give Wilshere four to six weeks holiday, meaning that he would not be match fit for the start of the Premier League season on August 13. England have a friendly against Holland on August 10 before their Euro 2012 double header against Bulgaria and Wales on September 2 and 6.

"It would be better for him not to go," said Wenger.


"They've to consider that he'll not be fit enough to play, certainly for the friendly in August and he should be short for the qualifier in September. England have to make a choice. I will respect the holiday period for the player."

Wenger accepts that, under FIFA rules, he is powerless to prevent Wilshere playing for the U-21 and senior international teams, although further talks will be held with the English FA.

Stuart Pearce, manager of the U-21s, has said that England will look "silly" if they rest Wilshere while Spain select World Cup-winner Sergio Busquets. "The difference between Spain and England is that Spain start (the league) in September and in England we start on August 13," said Wenger.

"In England the championship is very intense. We have to be careful. Take a player like Ryan Giggs, he's playing until 37 but he's never played in a major tournament and that means he has a good rest every summer. In the long term that has an impact."

Of immediate concern to Wenger is tomorrow's match against Liverpool, when Arsenal have the chance to close the gap on Manchester United at the top of the Premier League to four points.

Wojciech Szczesny is almost certain to replace Jens Lehmann in goal, while Johan Djourou and Alex Song will both be in contention to start after missing last Sunday's 3-1 win over Blackpool.

In Andy Carroll, Arsenal will be facing a player who has already scored the winner at the Emirates this season, in Newcastle's 1-0 victory in November. Given the nature of transfer deadline day, Wenger doubts how close Liverpool watched Carroll before making him Fernando Torres' £35m replacement.

"I think even Liverpool didn't look," he said. "When you listen to that story, it all happened so quickly. They were a bit quick decisions."

Tomorrow's match will be watched by Stan Kroenke, who launched a full takeover of Arsenal on Monday after taking his personal shareholding to almost 63pc. Asked yesterday if Kroenke was the sort of owner to suddenly spend £80m on a player, Wenger said: "I don't think he would do that. We will continue to run the club with the technical department having the decision on what is technical and for all the rest I have to answer to Stan Kroenke, and I am ready for any questions. But I run the technical department.

Meanwhile, Liverpool youngster John Flanagan is determined to seize his opportunity after being handed a chance in the first team.

The 18-year-old right-back was given little notice before being thrust into the side for the 2-0 win over Manchester City in the league on Monday.

Flanagan said: "It was such a special night for me... At first I was nervous as it was a really big game to come into in front of over 40,000 fans. It took me 10-15 minutes just to settle down.

"Now I've got to keep working hard and learning. When you get a chance you have to take it. Kenny (Dalglish) has been a big help to me.

"It gives all the young players a boost because we all know that Kenny is looking at us and is willing to give us our chance." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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