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May 6, 2011

Wenger issues plea over Wilshere

Arsene Wenger claims he would never stop Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere playing for England at any level - but has reiterated his plea for the FA to act "responsibly" regarding the use of the teenager in the summer.

• Wilshere: I'll never say no to England

Wilshere has broken through to Fabio Capello's senior England squad but Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce has recalled him to the Young Lions for June's European Championship finals in Denmark - a tournament the midfielder helped them qualify for.

Wilshere has said he is happy to play for both England teams, but Arsenal boss Wenger is concerned the heavy work load over the summer could burnout the 19-year-old. The young Gunner has already played more than 50 times for club and country in what has been a breakthrough season.

"I would never say that [Wilshere cannot play for England], first of all because I don't feel I have the right to do that," said Wenger.

"I educate English players to play for their country, if they can, but I would ask Fabio Capello to consider the consequences of a boy who is 19-years-old who has played around 50 games at the end of the season, who has played for the first team and then a tournament on the back of it.

"What will the consequences be for the next season? I don't know but I feel the youth system is there to promote the players to play in the top team."

Wenger added: "It is the federation's decision and the federation has to act in a responsible way. You cannot ask Jack if he wants to play - do you really think he will say no? I don't think that's realistic.

"I am happy that he wants to play every single game for his country. The question raised by him playing are the consequences for the country, for England."

Pearce revealed he twice attempted to contact Wenger to discuss Wilshere's inclusion before the squad announcement on Tuesday, but insisted it would only be a "courtesy" call, stating his case for selecting the midfielder would not be swayed by any counter arguments.

Wenger maintains he can also argue his case, but ultimately will have to accept the final decision of the FA, which would probably mean Wilshere having an extended break and missing the opening of the new campaign.

"I can see it from Pearce's point of view," he said. "I called Stuart Pearce and explained to him why I am against it and I told him as well that at the end of the day I give him my honest opinion and I will respect the decision of the FA.

"I think it is better than the other way round than say he is right, but think he is wrong."

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