Arsene Wenger does not believe Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere jeopardised his return to fitness with a family ice-skating trip.
England international Wilshere, whose career has been ravaged by injury problems over recent years, poked fun at his fitness record in an Instagram post of him skating on Tuesday.
“Positive week, managed to get through 20 minutes of ice skating without getting injured,” the 25-year-old wrote alongside a picture of his wife and two children.
Hailing from Strasbourg, the eastern French city noted for its proximity to ski resorts, Wenger is well versed in such winter past-times and did have a word or two of caution for Wilshere.
“Honestly it’s not bad for your balance but overall it’s not ideal – for the way you fall down as well. For a footballer I don’t think it’s great,” he told a news conference ahead of Thursday’s Europa League match against BATE. “It depends, as well, what you do.
“I just heard about it [Wilshere going skating] but you can do ice skating by bringing your child on and making sure nothing happens to them. Ice skating violently, I don’t think he did that.”
Wilshere has featured in all five of Arsenal’s Europa League matches this season, starting the last four to help Wenger’s men secure a place in the knockout stages.
The depth of midfield options available to Wenger has restricted him to four substitute appearances in the Premier League.
Having such means to rotate – ones he did not enjoy in the Champions League – is something Wenger has acknowledged as a benefit in terms of keeping his squad fresh as they enter England’s busy winter period.
“I would say, yes, rotating the squad has been an advantage in term of injuries,” he said.
“We missed an opportunity on Saturday [the 3-1 home loss against Manchester United] to take advantage of that because we were physically quite strong in the game.”
Wenger added: “They have been absolute outstanding, I must say. One of the positives of this season is the behaviour of the squad is remarkable and impeccable.
“In training when I play the team from the Premier League against the one from the Europa League it is very difficult to predict who wins the game. We have a quality squad.
“I consider these players as well for the Premier League. There is a fight going on. No one is ruled out of any game.”