By Rob Kelly

Arsène Wenger says he allowed Fabrice Muamba to leave the Club in order to help his career.

The 23-year-old spent five years at Arsenal from 2002 to 2007, but left to join Birmingham City before eventually moving on to Bolton.

Wenger says that while he rated Muamba highly, he decided to let him go for the good of his development.

“He had big players in front of him and it was very difficult to take them out and put Fabrice in at the time,” he said.

“The second reason is that he is so highly motivated that I felt he was ready to play and needed to play.

“There always comes a moment in the career of a player that you play him now or you let him go. Because I didn’t play him, I let him go but I knew he would have a career.

“I let him go for his benefit and he understood that very well. When he was at Birmingham he drove back many times and we had a little chat about how things were going. We felt attached to him because we wanted him absolutely to be successful.”

Wenger says the tenacious midfielder has always seemed to have a point to prove whenever he faces Arsenal.

“Against us, he is always very keen to prove that we made a mistake in letting him go,” he said. “He is always outstanding against us and I hope he will do that again soon.

“Today we are in a better mood than one week ago. I am not a medical specialist and do not know if he will play football again, but the most important thing is that he recovers completely. Afterwards hopefully we will have the joy of seeing him on the football pitch 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 23 Mar 2012