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Oct 26, 2013

Wenger admits to Wilshere 'gamble'

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted he wonders if he is taking a ‘gamble’ with the fitness of midfielder Jack Wilshere.

Jack Wilshere clutches his ankle in the Champions League match against Dortmund.
Jack Wilshere clutches his ankle in the Champions League match against Dortmund.

• Cross: Avoiding a letdown

Wilshere was substituted during the second-half of the Champions League loss to Dortmund after earlier going down clutching his ankle.

The sight of the 21-year-old again in agony raised fears that the England international was set for another stint on the sidelines.

But despite Wilshere claiming that the injury was not as bad as first feared, Wenger hinted he was finding it hard to find the right program for his young star.

“He played Saturday and on Tuesday, so it is difficult for us to find the right rhythm for him,” said Wenger.

“Before when I always played him, people say I overplayed him. Now I try to be a bit more cautious.

“It is difficult because his ankle is up and down a little bit.

“Jack is getting better, but it is still inflamed sometimes and responds sometimes to games, but after that it goes down again and is normal.

“I think he will go through this period of stabilisation.

“It is going upwards, but sometimes you wonder do I take a gamble or not?

“I do what the medical people recommend with him because I am not a specialist. They are quite positive about him.”

Despite Wilshere’s injury woes, league leaders Arsenal will be hoping to continue their run at the top of the table when they visit manager-less Crystal Palace.

However, next week, the Gunners will start a run of tough fixtures that includes matches against Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund. 

And Wenger admitted that run of clashes will test the title credentials of his squad.

“Yes, it is a step up. It (the challenge) is for us to be at the level now of these games coming up, and I am quite confident,” Wenger said.

“I think we have learned against Dortmund - even though we have lost. There were a lot of positives in that game, because we controlled them quite well, against a team who went in a convincing way into the final last year.

“That performance should, despite the disappointment, give us belief.”

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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