Arsène Wenger says it was important to give Jack Wilshere a rest in Saturday’s 1-0 win at Fulham.

The midfielder came off the bench and played the last 20 minutes as Arsenal battled to hold on to the lead given to them by Per Mertesacker’s first-half header.

Having been out with an ankle problem for six weeks, Wilshere returned to the starting line-up for recent games against Norwich City and Everton, but Wenger is cautious not to burn the 21-year-old out as the season approaches its finale.

I do not want to go into a vicious circle again when I play him, I play him, I play him and then suddenly… I think coming back after six weeks out, two games in a week was enough

“He was in a bit [of pain] after the game but I just felt we had to stop him because of inflammation last time and I just felt to give him three games in six days would be too much,” Wenger said.

“Now he has a break until next Sunday and that is different so he will be available. There is no basic ankle problem.

“I do not want to go into a vicious circle again when I play him, I play him, I play him and then suddenly… I think coming back after six weeks out, two games in a week was enough.

“I don’t want the game in England to lose the commitment and combative side. But Jack has a game that is based on dribbling so he is more exposed to kicks than players who are just passing players. You don’t want him to lose that because that is his strength.”

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 Nik Brumsack 21 Apr 2013