Arsene Wenger urges Jack Wilshere caution

Jack Wilshere of Arsenal in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa on February 23, 2013
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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger asks Roy Hodgson to use caution in managing Jack Wilshere through a busy season for club and country.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has urged England manager Roy Hodgson to manage Jack Wilshere carefully this season.

Wilshere has battled back from two seasons blighted by injury, thanks to persistent knee and ankle problems which both required surgery.

Wenger rested Wilshere during last weekend's 3-1 win over Fulham after successive starts in previous matches against Aston Villa and Fenerbahce.

The Gunners boss wants Hodgson to prioritise starting Wilshere in key World Cup qualifiers, asking the England coach to leave the 21-year-old out of a match against minnows Moldova next month if possible.

He told The Guardian: "He was a bit tired but it was more about giving him a rest [for Fulham]. It made sense to give him a breather because we're playing every three days at the moment. He is not 100% yet but he is 90%. It's an important year for every single player because, if you have a good season, you have a good chance of going to the World Cup but I'm a bit cautious because he's had a few operations.

"I don't want to make a mistake and overuse him because the ankle is the most important part of any football player. People think it's the knee. It's not; it's the ankle. All the movements come from the ankle. He's had surgery three times so we have to be cautious. Because we have a good connection with the medical department [at England]. They know him well. Who are England's next two games? Moldova and Ukraine? That's the key. So don't play him against Moldova.

"I always take medical advice. If the ankle is not inflamed, if he has no pain, then we would not rest the player. If they say there is a little inflamed ankle, we would say: 'OK, let's not.' I would be a bit more cautious [with Wilshere], yes, until we feel he is completely free from any risk. If he gets well through the Fenerbahce game, he will play on Sunday [against Tottenham Hotspur] because there are five days between."

Wilshere is expected to return for the Gunners tonight in the second leg of their Champions League qualifier against Fenerbahce.

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