By Giuseppe Muro

Arsène Wenger has shed light on his deployment of Nicklas Bendtner since the striker’s return from injury.

Wenger has been reluctant to rush the Dane back into action after a persistent groin problem disrupted the opening two months of his season and recent reports suggested Bendtner was unhappy with his lack of first-team opportunities.

Marouane Chamakh’s form has kept Bendtner on the fringes and, although he started at Braga in midweek, the Dane was omitted completely from last weekend’s squad for the North London derby. Ahead of Saturday’s trip to Aston Villa, Wenger explained his thinking over Bendtner’s involvement.

“I said that I did not put him in the squad [for Tottenham] as my plan was to work on his fitness [so he would] be ready to play on Tuesday [against Braga],” said Wenger. “I have to rotate a little bit the strikers and players.

“Why put him on the bench? Let him practice and keep him fit for Tuesday.

"If a player is out for four months they think they can come into training and go on the pitch and perform, [but] it does not work like that.

“Chamakh was dead at half time against Tottenham as he played on a very heavy pitch in Ireland [during the international break] so I thought I would rest him on Tuesday and play Bendtner. I must say that Chamakh is doing very well for me, so it is perfect for competition."

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26 Nov 2010