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May 19, 2011

Wenger fears for Wilshere's health

Arsene Wenger has admitted Arsenal will reluctantly allow Jack Wilshere to link up with the England Under-21 side, as he feels the youngster's health could be put at risk by playing at this summer's European Championship.

• Wenger issues plea over Wilshere

Wenger has repeatedly voiced his concern over England taking Wilshere, fearing it could do long-term harm to the young midfielder's career.

England U-21 boss Stuart Pearce feels Wenger's fears are unfounded, as he believes it will benefit the player to experience a big tournament rather than being thrown into a World Cup or European Championship with the full national side without any preparation.

Wenger has confirmed Wilshere will be in the party that makes the trip to Denmark, but is convinced it is a negative move for the midfielder.

"We just have to accept and respect the choice even if I think it is the wrong decision," Wenger said. "Jack Wilshere has been in the red for a while now and this could be a risk for his health.

"He will respect the decision. He knows he is nearly at the end of his eligibility level and he is keen to do well. He has played nearly 50 games this year. And to go to a tournament is a massive risk.

"I want England to do well, but I do not think it is the right decision. We will accept it and let him go."

Wenger has suggested Arsenal will pay the price for Wilshere heading off to Denmark, as he will pull the youngster from the line of fire at the start of next season in order to recharge his batteries.

"It has been his first full season and it would have been nice to have given him a rest," Wenger said. "If they take him and touch wood he survives the tournament, he will be given a long rest afterwards as he needs it.

"I have never seen a player who has had a long season, then gone to a tournament and come back in August and is in good shape."

Despite Wenger's opposition, Wilshere's selection is no surprise, with Pearce having included him in his provisional 40-man squad earlier this month and insisting he wants the Young Lion to play in the tournament he helped the team qualify for.

But Wilshere has also broken through to Fabio Capello's senior England squad and he is expected to be recalled to the senior team after June's Under-21 European Championships conclude.

Fellow senior international Andy Carroll was also included but there was doubt over whether the Liverpool striker would take his place in the final 23.

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