By Chris Harris

Theo Walcott, Thomas Vermaelen and, down the years, many others. Arsène Wenger might keep everything crossed while an international break is on but he always seems to welcome back an injured player.

Vermaelen will miss Saturday's game with Bolton after taking a knock on his Achilles during Belgium's Euro 2012 qualifier this week but Walcott is the more pressing concern. He will be out for four to six weeks after damaging his ankle while on duty with England in Switzerland. The 21-year-old's enforced absence is doubly frustrating - Walcott had made a flying start to the season.

Wenger, who lost Robin van Persie for five months in similar circumstances, has tried to put his finger on the reasons for Arsenal's ill-fortune during international breaks. He thinks a number of factors come into play but, more than anything, he accepts that such injuries are part and parcel of life at a big club.

"Every year it's the case of when we should play international games and we have to deal with that," said the Frenchman. 

"I believe sometimes players go on different pitches in smaller countries with a different way of training. They have come out of hard games as well like we had at Blackburn. 

"It's difficult to explain but we know now it's part of being a big club. When people play international games you do not always get them back."

Walcott will be out until October but it seems it could have been much worse.

"The good news is that the ligament which we were scared could be ruptured is not," explained Wenger. "But in our job it is still a long-term injury of four to six weeks.

"It is frustrating, but we have to deal with it. Statistically you know when there is an international break, if you get everybody back without injury it is a little miracle.

"It is more frustrating for Theo, and you never know what kind of psychological impact it has on the player as well.

"In our job it is important you are healthy and you play. When you are injured, it always stops your progress and and sets you back when you do not have regular games. It is sometimes good to be rested, but to be injured is different.

"It is the same for Robin as well, it has been frustrating. If you look at last season, he has been out for a long time and now again in his first match, he is straight away injured, but we have to deal with that."

A run of seven games in 22 days means Arsenal's players will be barely be out of Wenger's sight for the next few weeks. But October brings another round of internationals and another anxious wait for the Frenchman as his stars jet off around the globe.

He'll be hoping for better luck next time.

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10 Sep 2010