Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: Jack Wilshere is in best form I’ve seen for long time
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Read the full transcript of Arsene Wenger’s press conference at London Colney on Thursday
Team news after the international break...
I haven’t seen everyone because some are back today, some even tomorrow like Alexis Sanchez. The minor problem we have is with Sead Kolasianc, we check him today. He has a hip problem.
We lost Mustafi for four/six weeks. I don’t think he will be available until after the next international break. Ozil and Welbeck are back in normal training
Some players came back from countries who had qualified [during the international break], like Alex Iwobi and Mohamed Elneny, in Europe some are in between like Switzerland who have to play in the play-offs.
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Some [players] are directly qualified [from countries] like France, England and then you have some players who are disappointed like Alexis Sanchez with Chile and Aaron Ramsey with Wales.
It’s mixed feelings but numbers wise with so many qualifying more players are in a positive mood.
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On Calum Chambers’ new deal...
He’s a young centre back – he’s going towards his best period now. He played a complete season at Middlesbrough.
Unfortunately at the moment he’s injured, but I it’s important we keep our young centre backs because they blossom at 24. It’s important to keep them during that period.
On Laurent Koscielny’s injury...
He has a final test on Friday. At the moment he’s not available. But he trained on his own and the first signs are positive so we decided to give him a test tomorrow
On Alex Sanchez’s after Chile’s World Cup qualification failure...
I will speak to him tomorrow. Yesterday afternoon I watched the whole game to see how difficult it was and he got some special treatment in this game. It was very physical. I will have to assess the situation when he comes back tomorrow.
He, like Aaron Ramsey, are winners. They want to focus on winning things. I believe the World Cup is a stimulant, but when you don’t have it you focus on your club and what you can achieve.
On Mesut Ozil’s contract latest...
I always said that the fact we didn’t find an agreement last year that the player will leave. Both players (Ozil and Sanchez) are happy here. I hope the situation can be turned round. At the moment we are not close to announce [a new deal].
On Jack Wilshere...
At the moment Jack is in the best form I’ve seen him for a long time. He’s very close now to be considered like anyone else.
I don’t believe he has to leave Arsenal to go to the World Cup. If he keeps going like he is going then I think he will go to the World Cup I’m sure because I don’t see Jack being fully fit and not going to the World Cup.
He has played games already for us since the start of the season and he will play many more.
On England needing Wilshere at the World Cup next summer in Russia...
Of course. Jack is certainly a player who has that (the ability to open teams up) more than anyone else. You have good players but he is more a No10 than anyone. He can open spaces, play in tight areas and get out of tight areas.
Marc Overmars – Arsenal return?
No. At the moment he is a director at Ajax. We have always been in touch yes, but at the moment no. Marc Overmars is currently director of football at Ajax. [So he won’t be coming as director of football?} Not at the moment, no.
On the challenge of playing Watford at Vicarage Road...
They are a strong side. They have strong results. They are a balanced team who is dangerous and play good football. It is a tough opponent for everybody.
I will decide on Friday what I will do, because Koscielny has his test then. If he survives the test he is capable to play. He has no pain on his Achilles.
On his opposing number Marco Silva...
He has impressed. Watford play good football. He was at Hull where he had a good start as well. He has done very well.
On Shkodran Mustafi’s unexpected injury...
The player I expected least to lose in the break was Mustafi. First of all I wasn’t sure he would play and Germany were already qualified so I thought the games would be less intense. He didn’t play the first game and we lost him in the second. We have to cope with that now.
On Paul Merson’s return to football – in the Welsh third division...
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On the fixture against Liverpool scheduled for Saturday, December 23 being moved to Christmas Eve....
We have to adapt to the schedule dictated by the television. If it happens, there shouldn’t be any game played after 2pm at the latest on December 24.
I would say if we have to play it should not be after 2pm. Personally I would prefer to be at my home on Christmas night and celebrate Christmas, but I still feel that could happen if we play early on the day. What you would not like to sacrifice is the evening with the family for people.
But we go towards a society where religion isn’t considered any more in a society and where people want to watch football as well during the Christmas period.
On Kolo Toure moving into coaching...
My advice to him is to keep his enthusiasm. First of all I want to congratulate my former player who became president of Liberia, George Weah. It’s not often you have a former player who becomes president of a country. So well done Georgie.
On contract deadlines being set for Sanchez/Ozil
No, not at the moment. When you are in our situation you envisage any solution. [Could they be sold in January?]. Once you’re in our kind of situation you envisage any solution yes. It is possible.