By Chris Harris

Save yourself for the World Cup and you might just end up with the summer off.

That is the message from Arsène Wenger as the focus slowly turns to next June's football jamboree in South Africa.

Stars from each of the 32 competing countries will be hoping to impress their national coaches in the months to come but, according to Wenger, those players have their priorities wrong.

The Arsenal manager believes the best path to a successful World Cup is a successful season with your club. Anything else and those international hopefuls could end up kicking their heels on the sidelines.

"Listen, a guy who has a poor season has a poor World Cup," he said. "It is as mathematical as that.

"A guy who wins with his club then goes to the World Cup, has a good chance to win again because the players are not afraid of you if you do nothing the whole season.

"You have no respect from the manager if you don't do anything with your club and you have more chance of being on the bench than to play.

"The only experience I have of players that have won the World Cup is Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit. They won their Championship, they won the FA Cup, they went to the World Cup and they won the World Cup.

"To think that some people think that the players can be within themselves and then turn up at the World Cup... sport at the top level does not work like that."

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24 Nov 2009