Arsene Wenger is playing a very dangerous game with Jack Wilshere - Of his own making

Jack Wilshere

Arsene Wenger feels he simply cannot rest Jack Wilshere from the Arsenal first team.

When Jack Wilshere returned to Arsenal in the Autumn after missing 15 months of first team action, Arsene Wenger said he was keen to ease him back into the side.

The slow transition didn't last long, Wilshere quickly found himself back into the swing of playing regular football.

Already he has made 15 first team appearances - in little under three months. Wenger ahead of today's game with Swansea has commented that he can't drop the player.

It will be his fourth start of 2013 so far, an average of playing a match every four days. So much for rest.

"Maybe not in this period, at some stage I will do it, at the moment I don't think he is overloaded because he just came back very recently, and you get the feeling he gets stronger."

All well and good, and Wilshere is probably chomping at the bit to play every minute of every game, but Wenger's job is manage him; and that means protecting the player from himself.

If you remember, the reason Wilshere got injured in the first place was largely down to the sheer amount of football he played, without rest. It was little surprise his body gave in.

That was because he was such a key part of Arsenal's midfield, but had Arsene Wenger a better squad at his disposal, he would have been able to give Wilshere more rest.

Now in 2013, he finds himself in the same position. Right now Arsenal are unfortunate to have Mikel Arteta injured, but Abou Diaby is back - albeit needing to be eased back in himself- but they have plenty of midfield options at their disposal.

Yet had they kept, or even replaced, Alex Song, they would be one player better off, and would have more options in the middle. It would make the option of giving Wilshere a rest that much easier.

Wenger is playing a very dangerous game with Wilshere, because he needs to rest him more regularly than he is doing.

If he does not, regardless of the important fixtures at the moment, he is running a real risk of causing Wilshere to break down with another injury; and that would be a disaster for Arsenal.

It's a problem and risk of the manager's own making. He is reluctant to spend on new midfielders to give himself extra options, or promote talented youngster Thomas Eisfeld to rotate with Wilshere. 

If the Gunners weren't so desperate for results; an effect of their squad being short; the situation to play their best players in every game would not be so pressing.

Flogging Wilshere every game won't help anyone. But just wait for Wenger to start moaning the second England call him up that he needs a rest.

If Wilshere is injured again will you hold Wenger responsible? Does Jack need a rest?

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch