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Wednesday, 2 October, 2002, 10:43 GMT 11:43 UK
Wenger makes Pires wait
Arsenal's Robert Pires
Robert Pires holds his knee in agony
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will delay Robert Pires' comeback even though the French midfielder is ready to return to first-team football.

Pires suffered cruciate ligament damage to his right knee in a game against Newcastle in March 2002 and underwent surgery at the end of April.

The winger spent rehabilitation included a spell in recovering in France and he returned to England six weeks ago.

He has been training with Arsenal first-team for a few weeks and, despite being impressed by Pires' return, Wenger is not going to risk the French international too soon.

"I think he will be back in three weeks," Wenger told French newspaper L'Equipe. "As far as his physical condition is concerned he is ready, he could play now.

"But I am not making him play because the doctor asked me to respect the six-month deadline imposed by that type of injury.

"I have only three weeks left to wait. He is better and better but it is necessary to be patient and wait for the medical go-ahead."


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