Wenger on Akpom, Wilshere and Singapore

Arsene Wenger faced the media after Arsenal beat a Singapore Select XI 4-0 in the Barclays Asia Trophy on Wednesday. You can read a full transcript of his press conference below:

on the performance…Overall it was a positive game because we had a good resistance in the first game. We were tested against a very resilient, very dynamic, very mobile and a team with a good collective attitude. We were tested and we had to play with pace. Overall I liked the fact that we kept a good team focus and as well that individually, every player had to dig deep. We suffered a little bit to get a good workout.

on the role Akpom will play this season…


Wenger on Wilshere's performance

That’s up to him. How much? I don’t know but I just believe that it’s an encouragement to do well and to work even harder. He’s a young player and it can lift his confidence. The confidence in the dressing room that you sense from the other players is important as well and that can help him. Let’s not forget it’s a friendly. He’s a good talent but he has to work and show that in [the big] games.

on if Akpom will be loaned this season…No. I sent him out on loan last year because I thought he needed that. This pre-season, during the season I plan to keep him with us.

on if Akpom will get a chance…Yeah, it’s down to performance and attitude. He has that grade to make between being a big talent and after an efficient talent week in, week out. That’s of course the target.

on Wilshere…He always had appetite Jack, but he was out for a long time. Already in the last two or three games of the season he has found his burst back with acceleration. Like with Alex [Oxlade-Chamberlain] that’s a big part of their game. To be very efficient they need that and that demands physically to be perfect. He’s getting close now.

on where Wilshere will play this season…For me he can play in all the offensive positions - wide and central. I have so many good creative players. If you ask all of them where they want to play, they will always tell you central. Unfortunately some of them have to go wide as well.

on the Singapore XI…I was surprised. They were electric in the first half - I don’t know what they had for lunch! They were absolutely electric and they played at a very high pace. Technically


they were very good. They couldn’t create much but it was difficult to get the ball off them. In the second half they dropped physically and then the cohesion goes when you change three or four players. They suffered from that as well.

on Wilshere…He’s like Alex, he was injured last year early in the season and he missed five months. What you want at the top level today demands so much physically that to be [out] is a nightmare for the players. That’s what he needs - continuity. After, we play so many games. We have a big squad but not a massive one and I think the opportunities will be there for everybody.

on changes to the team against Everton…Today I left nine players out, they will be involved on Saturday. I will rotate a bit because the week after we play two games again. For me at the moment the [objective is] to give competition to the players without overloading them and [for them] to be capable to work hard in training and to work on their fitness. If they play too many games, you cannot work in training.

on if rested players will return on Saturday…I have not decided yet but you will see them of course. They didn’t play today because they just came back on Friday and I wanted them to have at least one week of preparation before the first game.

on if any Singapore players impressed…All the team in the first half. Let’s be realistic, they are players who play at their level. For us to be interested in these players is certainly not the case but they played well and you have to say they were very quick.

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