By Rob Kelly

Arsène Wenger says he allowed Andrey Arshavin to return to Zenit St Petersburg on loan because the playmaker needed more game time.

The Russia captain moved back to his former club for the rest of the season last week after losing a regular first-team place with Arsenal.

While Wenger was prepared to allow the 30-year-old to leave on loan, he insists that it is only a temporary measure.

“First of all, things have not ended because he is still our player, he is only out on loan,” the manager said.

“I just felt he needed to play. When you are 30 and you do not play regularly, you drop your form and when you come on every time you have to produce something special.

“At that age it is very difficult. I felt he just needed a bit of confidence to play again.”

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 2 Mar 2012