Angry Wenger hits out: You deliver for us first Walcott, not for England

24 November 2009 09:31
There isn't much that will ruffle Arsene Wenger's feathers, but it took just one question about Theo Walcott on Monday to flip him over the edge.

The Arsenal manager took exception to an enquiry about his injury-prone winger's chances of going to the World Cup with England.

Wenger's stern words will have left Walcott in no doubt that his loyalties should lie with the club who pay his £60,000-a-week wages.

Angry: Arsene Wenger reacted furiously when asked about Theo Walcott's chances of playing at the World Cup

Wenger is adamant that the rest of the Premier League campaign should be about Walcott demonstrating his commitment to Arsenal, not used as a proving ground for a place on the plane to South Africa.

Wenger fumed: 'Why should I not be frustrated? The guy asks me if it's an important season because Theo is going to the World Cup. The World Cup is in June. Is he on holiday until June 9? You cannot be serious.

'You are paid by Arsenal FC, not by the World Cup. During the World Cup he will be paid by Arsenal FC. He's not played this year. It's not his fault. What I mean is it doesn't have to be my worry what happens in the World Cup. You must be serious.

'The reality in life is, 'Do your job my friend'. And make sure nobody can ever say you're not committed, every day in your life, for what you're paid for.'

Enlarge Training: Wenger with his players before their Champions League match against Standard Liege

The Arsenal manager is still incensed by events involving Englandand Walcott in the summer. The 20-year-old played for the senior sidein World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Andorra before going onto feature in every game for the Under 21s in the EuropeanChampionship, despite Wenger asking him to withdraw.

World Cup hopes: Theo Walcott

It resultedin Walcott returning late for pre-season training, something Wenger isunderstood to believe contributed to him aggravating a back problem ina friendly against Valencia.

Walcott was subsequently restrictedto light training ahead of England's friendly with Holland before thestart of the league season in August.

However, he still travelled with the England squad despite the back problem and was an unused sub in Amsterdam.

Hedid not feature for Arsenal until early October, coming off the benchagainst Blackburn, before injuring his knee in a crunching tackle fromBirmingham'sLiam Ridgewell in his first start.

All told, Walcott's injuries have restricted him to just 73 minutes of action forArsenalthis season and, even if he is to cement his place in Fabio Capello'splans for South Africa, Wenger insisted he will only do so byperforming on a consistent basis for his club.

The Gunners bossadded: 'Listen, a guy who has a poor season has a poor World Cup. It'sas mathematical as that. A guy who wins with his club goes to the WorldCup and has a good chance to win.

'Youhave no respect from the manager if you don't do anything at your club.The only experience I have of players who won the World Cup is Vieiraand Petit. They won the championship, they won the FA Cup, they went tothe World Cup and they won the World Cup.'

That opinion was echoed by Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas, who said:'I understand his (Wenger's) point. He's the manager and wants Arsenalto do well. The national team is secondary.

'But, as a player, Iwant to play well for Arsenal to be a starter in the World Cup. That'smy first priority - to play well and win titles for Arsenal - but totry to be a starter for Spain in the World Cup too is also on my mind.'

Walcott will be handed the chance to impress his manager in theChampions League against Standard Liege tonight when Arsenal go insearch of the point they need to qualify for the knockout stages.

Andhaving insisted his side can cope in the absence of Robin van Persieonly to be let down by his players in the defeat to Sunderland, Wengeris certainly looking for more from Walcott and company during the Dutchstriker's four- to six-week lay-off.

Wenger said: 'They have todo it for themselves. It's not what I want, but what they want and theyhave to show that they want to be winners.

'I was disappointed bysome areas of our game (against Sunderland) and that is the first timethis season.' Insisting he had been right to chide his players afterthe loss, Wenger added: 'I did feel it was that bad. I'm not sorry forwhat I said.'

At least Wenger will have been heartened by Fabregas's admission that he may stay at Arsenal for the rest of his career.

Fabregassaid: 'I've never thought about whether I can stay here forever. Whynot? I'm only 22 and you never know what your career will bring.

'I love everything about London, except sometimes the weather. It's one of my favourite cities.'

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Source: Daily_Mail