By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger understands why Santi Cazorla had to go to Panama for Spain's friendly this week - even if he didn't get on the pitch.
The Arsenal playmaker endured one of the more arduous trips of the international break, completing a 10,500-mile round trip before landing in London on Thursday night.
Cazorla will now gather himself for Saturday's north London derby and, although Wenger is concerned that the 27-year-old will be tired, he knows that the Spaniard could not turn down the chance to add to his 50 international caps.
"At the moment, if you are selected you have to go, unless you say you're injured," said Wenger.
"And in Spain, what I understand completely is that the players want to play for the national team and in Spain the competition is so high that if a guy turns it down and there is suspicion there the next time he will not be called up.
"Could Cazorla have done without that trip? Of course. But he could have got injured. So I personally don't complain but he must not be very happy."
A number of Premier League players pulled out of their national squads with injuries and Wenger accepts that it makes life difficult for international coaches.
"I just think it shows you one thing - that this international friendly is not in the best position," said Wenger.
"Having said that I thought England played quite well [against Sweden], it was very interesting to watch, especially in the first half where they did very well.
"They had some positives because they had some young players coming in. I believe a friendly like that is made to try young players, and on that front it was quite positive for England.
"It will be interesting to see who will play over the weekend and who will not play, of all those who have been injured over Europe," added Wenger. "I would personally put 10 pounds on 90 per cent playing."
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