By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger insists he takes all necessary precautions to protect his players from 'burn-out'.

The issue has cropped up this week, as Cesc Fabregas, writing in the Official Arsenal Programme last Saturday, admitted that he was making the most of his enforced absence from the game after suffering knee ligament damage against Liverpool last month.

Fabregas, who made his Arsenal debut at the age of 16, said that it is "not normal" for a 21-year-old to have played 270 games for both club and country. Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Wenger agreed that his captain has shouldered a huge burden and pointed out that, in Fabregas' case, the quantity of matches is linked to the quality of the player.

"Yes, I am worried about 'burn-out'," said Wenger. "But, first of all, it's not normal because Cesc is an exceptional talent and secondly, he has said this because he is out through injury and is analysing what has happened.

"But when he refreshes mentally then he will remember that he was fit to play every game, he was capable of playing and wanted to play in every game.

"One thing I must say is that I gave him a complete four weeks of holiday after Euro 2008. He finished on the 27th of June and came back on the 23rd of July.

"I have the experience of players going to big competitions, they go to Championships, win them and become heroes and you tell them on the 1st of  August: 'come on, you have to play, your life depends on that'.

"It doesn't work like that. Mentally it takes time to recover and you have to get back to normal, get your hunger back but we gave him four weeks holiday.

"To get them [Fabregas, Tomas Rosicky and Theo Walcott] available again gives us a massive boost on the offensive side. But at the moment we have to face to reality and live without them and get as high as we can until they come back."

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16 Jan 2009