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Page last updated at 13:51 GMT, Friday, 1 April 2011 14:51 UK

Wenger questions England U21's need for Jack Wilshere

Jack Wilshere
Wilshere could play up to 60 games this season if he features for the U21s

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has queried Jack Wilshere's likely call-up to play for England Under-21s in this summer's European Championship but condeded it is the Football Association's decision.

Midfielder Wilshere, 19, wants to play but is a senior England international.

Wenger said: "If England think Wilshere is not ready to play for the first team completely and he needs to play in the under-21s, that you can defend.

"If they are convinced he is a first team player, then it is debatable."

Wenger continued: "Why do you produce a youth system? It is to get them ready to be playing in the first team.

"Once they play in the first team, your job has been done so you can promote other players."

The Frenchman was at pains, though, to stress that Wilshere's current focus must be on helping Arsenal finish the season as Premier League winners.

"For us at the moment it is important not to create a debate on [the under-21s] and just focus on the championship. We have to sort that problem out at the end of the season with the FA," he said.

Hitzlsperger on England and West Ham

"It is normal that you play many games, but there is a number you have to respect and make sure you do not make a mistake with a promising player."

Meanwhile, Arsenal will welcome back captain Cesc Fabregas (hamstring), England winger Theo Walcott (ankle) as well midfielders Alex Song (knee) and Abou Diaby (groin) for Saturday's home match against Blackburn.

Dutch striker Robin van Persie (thigh) has shaken off a minor knock suffered during international duty, as has Nicklas Bendtner (ankle).

Arsenal are five points off leaders Manchester United with a game in hand, with the two due to meet on 1 May.

If Arsenal win all of their remaining games they will win the title but the Gunners have a tricky run-in to negotiate.

Liverpool's visit on 17 April is followed by the local derby at Tottenham three days later, while away trips to Bolton and Stoke also feature in their final nine matches.



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see also
Wilshere eyes U21 tournament spot
30 Mar 11 |  Football
Wilshere impresses boss Capello
09 Feb 11 |  Football
England 1-1 Ghana
29 Mar 11 |  Football
Wales 0-2 England
25 Mar 11 |  Football
West Brom 2-2 Arsenal
19 Mar 11 |  Premier League
Diaby adds to Arsenal injury list
18 Mar 11 |  Arsenal


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