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Nov 9, 2012

Wenger attacks international friendlies

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has unleashed his latest broadside at friendly internationals, claiming they are little more than "fundraising" exercises for national federations.

• Blog: Club's no better
• Blog: Walcott centre of attention

Wenger has long voiced his annoyance at non-competitive internationals and he is fuming at the prospect of losing a majority of his squad in the days before the North London derby showdown with Tottenham next Saturday.

"The interest of the clubs are not always important," he stressed.

"When we play Saturday morning at 12.45pm against Tottenham and Santi Cazorla plays in Panama on Wednesday night, you cannot say there is no conflict of interest between the two.

"Basically, there are a lot of politics behind these friendly games as well because when you see some teams travelling during that period, you think it is more to pay back some corporation rather than preparing a team for the next official game. I believe the friendlies are there as well to help some federations to raise some money by playing against big teams.

"What is difficult to understand is why these games are not like the official games and on a Tuesday night? There are rules in place to try and make this happen."

Wenger's mood surrounding the upcoming international fixtures were not helped by his annoyance at Jack Wilshere's England call-up for their game in Sweden next Wednesday, but his mood was balanced a little by the prospect of his young full-back Carl Jenkinson earning his first cap in England colours, subject to international clearance.

Jenkinson has played junior international football for Finland, but he has committed his future to England and Wenger is convinced the recognition can help to boost the confidence of his 20-year-old starlet.

"I am happy that his potential has been acknowledged by Roy Hodgson, so that is good news," added Wenger. "Carl is a guy with massive potential. I believe this call-up will improve his belief and that is very important for him in my opinion."

Jenkinson described his England recognition as "a great feeling" and said he hoped it was the first of many call-ups as he looks forward to representing the country of his birth at international level.

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