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Nov 8, 2012

Wenger reaches Wilshere compromise

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger claims to have found "a good compromise" with England boss Roy Hodgson after Jack Wilshere was named in the Three Lions squad for the friendly against Sweden next week, , but he is privately fuming at the decision to rush his starlet back onto the international stage.

• Macintosh: Wenger's final act?

Wenger had previously insisted he did not want his young midfielder thrown straight back into the international set-up after a 17-month injury lay-off, yet it seems club and country have devised a plan that suits both parties.

"I had Hodgson on the phone about Jack and we found a good understanding and a good compromise," stated Wenger, in a press briefing at the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital in central London.

"Roy wants Jack in the group to connect with the players and the fact he is not playing over the weekend helps as he needs ten days of recovery. Jack has been out for 17 months and it's good to have a little break after three games. Also, this is a friendly, of course."

Wenger admitted that 'the ideal solution' was for Wilshere to merely travel to Sweden as a non-playing member of Hodgson's squad, yet he showed some frustration with his England call-up when pushed by the written press.

"I wouldn't like to come out on my feelings on that because at the moment, they are not very positive," said Wenger. "I saw it coming, that's all I can say. You know what I think, that it is early for him.

"Of course I would rather he was not called up at all, but, I have no choice. If they call him up, they call him up. First of all, he was not injured with Arsenal, he has been injured with England, but what can we do?

"Jack gives 100 per cent on the pitch, and physically he's nearly there, but sometimes you need to rest when you accumulate games, then you can go harder," he said. "For us we need to stop him before he gets to that point. It's still very early for him after a long time out. Roy can say how many minutes he might play in this game."

Meanwhile, Wenger has again pledged to "do the maximum" to keep Theo Walcott at the club, after his return to the starting line-up saw him bag a goal in the 2-2 Champions League draw against Schalke on Tuesday night.

Walcott appeared to suggest that a rift was developing with Wenger over his lack of starts in the Arsenal first team this season in his post-match interviews, yet the Gunners boss has moved to confirm that contract talks with the England winger have not stalled beyond repair and his eagerness to keep the wannabe striker in his squad remains strong.

"My desire is to keep Theo," he reiterated, "We do what's needed to keep him and hopefully, as I have told you many times now, we can sort this situation out very soon. Before the end of December, one way or the other. I don't want to go into detail, but we do our maximum to keep our best players."

Meanwhile, Wenger as offered some positive news on the long-awaited return of first choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, whose comeback from an ankle injury has taken much longer than the Arsenal manager originally hoped.

Wenger's press briefings over the last six weeks have been notable for his consistent suggestion that Szczesny would be fit in "two to three weeks", but the Pole appears to have made progress in recent days as he is set to play for the Arsenal's under-21 side on Friday.

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