ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger admits he would rather Jack Wilshere had not been called up for next week’s England friendly against Sweden, but has struck a deal that will see the midfielder play only part of the match.
Wilshere returned last month after more than a year out with ankle injuries, and Wenger is fearful of the 20-year-old breaking down again if thrust back into regular action. However he is banned for tomorrow’s visit of Fulham, while England manager Roy Hodgson is thought to have agreed only to field Wilshere for 45 minutes.
“The ideal solution would be [that he wasn’t involved]. He has played three games now, and of the three games only one full game,” said Wenger. “He has been out for 17 months and it’s good to have a little break after three games. What we like is that he won’t play over the weekend so he will recover. I think he needs 10 days of good recovery. I had Roy Hodgson on the phone, we found a good compromise.”
He will be joined in the squad for the first time by Carl Jenkinson next week, once the full-back receives clearance to switch allegiance from Finland, whose Under-21s he played for. Everton’s Leon Osman has earned a first call-up at the age of 31, while Liverpool teenager Raheem Sterling and Tottenham defender Steven Caulker, 20, have also been included.
GREAT WALL FORSTER
CELTIC goalkeeper Fraser Forster’s inclusion in the England squad has been given the blessing of the Spanish press, with heavy praise heaped on the 24-year-old shot-stopper’s heroic performance in the Hoops’ historic 2-1 Champions League victory against Barcelona on Tuesday.
Northumberland-born Forster, who yesterday received his second call-up, was christened ‘La Gran Muralla’ – The Great Wall – by Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo after making 13 saves during a constant besiegement of his goal, with Lionel Messi only managing to score in stoppage time. Other sections of the Spanish media also paid tribute to the ex-Newcastle man, with daily sports paper Marca attributing Celtic’s success to “an amazing performance by Fraser Forster in goal”. Radio station Cadena SER specified that “some memorable stops by Fraser Forster” helped to counter Barcelona’s dominance.
By Tom Shepherd