x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Wenger: Wilshere will not play in England-Holland friendly

Arsenal manager says Fabio Capello can include the midfielder as much as he wants, but he will not play.

LONDON // Arsene Wenger has stated that Jack Wilshere will not play in England's friendly against Holland on Wednesday despite being called up by Fabio Capello.

The inclusion of the Arsenal midfielder — already the subject of a club-versus-country row this summer — came despite him missing the Gunners' pre-season defeat to Benfica on Saturday night with an ankle problem.

And speaking after the match, Wenger insisted Capello was wasting his time by including the 19-year-old.

"They can include him as much as they want, he will not play [because of injury]," Wenger said on Arsenal's website.

Theo Walcott also missed the 2-1 loss to Benfica, but had not been selected by Capello.

Should Wilshere be withdrawn, he will join Aston Villa's Darren Bent in pulling out of the game, with more absentees expected.

Capello took the precaution of selecting an extra couple of players but, given 11 took part in yesterday's Community Shield at Wembley, plus two more — Rob Green and Scott Parker — arrived fresh from West Ham's npower Championship defeat to Cardiff, knocks are inevitable.

Indeed, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson alluded to an ankle problem for Danny Welbeck, who was only elevated to the senior ranks after Bent withdrew with a shoulder problem.

Meanwhile, the Germany defender Per Mertesacker has admitted he fancies a move to the Premier League.

The 26-year-old Werder Bremen player has long been linked with a move to Arsenal, who are in the hunt for a new centre-back.

"For a national player it is a good thing to get experience of playing abroad," Mertesacker said in the Bild newspaper.

"I have said that England excites me."

Mertesacker, who is a regular in Joachim Low's Germany team, can leave Bremen on a free next summer so they may be tempted to cash in on one of their most highly-rated players in the current transfer window.

Sporting director Klaus Allofs said: "Should Per say that he wants to try something different and it is interesting for us, then we will sit down together. We have enough defenders."

Arsenal are on the look-out for defensive reinforcements and have also been linked with Bolton's Gary Cahill and Everton's Phil Jagielka.