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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 1 day ago
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By ESPN Staff
Jul 31, 2011

Wilshere set to miss Dutch clash

Jack Wilshere looks set to miss England's friendly with Netherlands a week on Wednesday after suffering an ankle injury in Arsenal's Emirates Cup draw with New York Red Bulls.

Wenger discusses Gervinho

Midfielder Wilshere lasted just seven minutes of Sunday afternoon's match before manager Arsene Wenger withdrew him as a precaution.

Wenger revealed afterwards that Gunners medics had predicted a week's absence for the 19-year-old, but claimed that would also make him unavailable for England.

"They told me that next week he might be out,'' said Wenger, whose side's final pre-season friendly is at Benfica on Saturday. "If he's out next week, he will not play in Benfica, so he will certainly not play in the England game.''

Confirming Wilshere had not torn anything but that his ankle was inflamed, Wenger added: "He's a quick healer usually, and a tough boy, so I hope he'll be quicker than the medical prediction.''

England boss Fabio Capello is already without Wilshere's fellow midfielders Steven Gerrard and Theo Walcott for the match at Wembley.

Wilshere looked to have cemented his place in Capello's starting XI at the end of last season, with reports suggesting he has moved ahead of Frank Lampard in the pecking order.

It remains to be seen whether Capello will call up Wilshere in the hope he is available to play against the Dutch.

Wenger has already clashed with England coaching staff over the player, who was named in the provisional squad for June's European Under-21 Championships before controversially withdrawing.

Arsenal were booed by their own fans at the final whistle, which did not bode well for the new season, who were forced to endure so much suffering last term.

Wenger chided them, saying: "I can understand they want us to win but I don't think we need to put any extra pressure on us now. The most important thing is to prepare and to take the pressure on when results really matter.''

Arsenal also let a two-goal lead slip against Boca Juniors yesterday and appear as desperate as ever for a commanding centre-half.

They have reportedly made a bid for Everton's Phil Jagielka and have also been linked with Blackburn's Christopher Samba.

Wenger said: "We try to strengthen the squad, we worked very hard on it, but I have no name today.''

But it is movement in the opposite direction that is of most concern to Gunners fans and Wenger revealed there was nothing new to report on the future of captain Cesc Fabregas.

Wenger also hit out at the referee for refusing to allow the returning Thierry Henry to switch sides for the closing minutes of the game.

But the Arsenal boss was told it was not allowed under FIFA rules after the club had planned it as a surprise gesture.

But Wenger said: "We wanted him to play in the last five minutes for us and he was desperate to do it, but the referee stubbornly turned it down. I went even in to see the referee to ask him if he would allow him to play for us.

"But he told us the rules are adamantly against it because one given player cannot play for two teams in the same game.''

It was Henry who helped lay on the Red Bulls' equaliser. Henry himself said: "They have some weird rules, FIFA or whatever. They asked me and I said yes. But it doesn't matter, I played enough games in the shirt.''

The club's all-time top goalscorer was treated to a hero's welcome by the home fans. He added: "It was kind of weird. The fans were cheering me when I got the ball, cheering when I was on the side. So I am clapping and playing at the same time. But it is what it is.''

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