Arsene Wenger has criticised the stubborn attitudes of Belgium and Netherlands’ international coaches after revealing that Robin van Persie and Thomas Vermaelen are doubtful for their Saturday afternoon’s league clash with Liverpool due to their respective injury issues.
Van Persie was a part of the Netherlands’ starting eleven in their 3-2 defeat of England in the midweek, while Vermaelen played for Belgium against Greece in their 1-1 draw on the same night.
On Friday morning, Wenger told the reporters that both the players were used by their national sides in meaningless friendly matches, even though they were carrying injuries. As a result, their conditions have worsened and they are not certain starters for tomorrow’s Barclay’s Premier League round.
A visibly frustrated Wenger expressed his unhappiness at the aforementioned duo’s international teams and said, “We have a problem with Vermaelen that we have to assess today. Van Persie has a little groin problem that we have to assess.
“We played Tottenham on Sunday then they played an international, then we are at Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime, then face AC Milan next Tuesday. Any football player knows it’s impossible to play four games at the top level like that.”
Van Persie, who has found the back of the net an incredible 29 times in the 2011/12 season, started at Wembley Stadium against the Three Lions but was substituted during the half-time interval. Then in the post-match interview, Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk said that his decision to use the Dutch striker for just the first period wasn’t taken due to any requests made by Arsenal.
It was even worse for Vermaelen, who was made to play from start to finish against Greece and Wenger admitted that they are looking to file a complaint against Belgium.
The Frenchman said: “It looks like Belgium has made a decision which I still do not understand and we will look to see if we can put a complaint in.
“Firstly they forced the player to travel, then they forced him to play 90 minutes after being injured and had a centre-back on the bench who did not play at all, in a friendly game knowing they do not even go to the European Championship.
“I never asked any player not to go 100 per cent for his country when it’s a qualifier or big competition, but friendlies are becoming more and more difficult especially in this period.
“We were the only team in the world who had that schedule so it’s very difficult to understand that our players had to go injured to Greece and to play 90 minutes for Belgium. That frankly is not defendable. It is disrespectful to the players as well.”
The long-time Arsenal manager then revealed that if Van Persie and Vermaelen don’t make it in time for the Liverpool game, they will be joining midfielder Aaron Ramsey on the sidelines as the Welshman is certain to miss out tomorrow’s match due to an ankle injury.
But the Gunners are all set to see the return of their permacrock midfielder Vassiriki Abou Diaby, who has finally gotten rid of his hamstring problems after spending months on the sidelines.
Tomas Rosicky, who played a starring role in Arsenal’s 5-2 thrashing of bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, has a minor groin injury but is expected to feature tomorrow.
“Ramsey is out for Saturday and out for Tuesday. But Diaby is available again. Rosicky has a groin problem… I think he will play,” Wenger added.