By Giuseppe Muro

Arsène Wenger believes England run the risk of hindering their chances of winning a major competition if they force players to play too much football.

The question of Jack Wilshere’s participation in this summer’s European Under-21 Championships has ignited the debate over player burn-out and the quantity of games throughout the English season.

The Arsenal manager has seen similar circumstances to this before and hopes England heed the warning.

"France were European and world champions and in the 2001/02 season they went to Australia, they went to Chile and they went out of the 2002 World Cup in the First Round without scoring a goal.

“They had the best goalscorer in England, the best goalscorer in Italy and the best goalscorer in France in their team. I told them [about the risk] before.

“I've met players at World Cups who have played more than 60 games in a season and, before the World Cup has started, they said to me ‘boss, I am dead’.”

Wilshere’s rise to prominence this season means he could have played almost 60 games by the time Arsenal end their Premier League campaign and England face Switzerland in June.

If the midfielder were to travel to Denmark with Stuart Pearce’s squad, Wenger admits Arsenal would be forced to give him a break during next season.

“We will adapt,” he said. “We will give the needed rest to Wilshere if he plays the tournament.

“At the end of the day, what is important is that England has a good player, Arsenal has a good player and the player has the needed rest to produce good performances.

"England do think about it but they have to decide what to do. They have to decide.”

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
1 Apr 2011