The Wenger Bus is Coming

David GoreCorrespondent INovember 20, 2008

So, Arsene Wenger saw this one, did he?

The legendary Mr Magoo has felt the need to stoke the mob fires of national fervour by calling for clubs to be investigated for withdrawing players from international duty. A very interesting development, I find, but not because of this ridiculous argument about player availability.

I'm not going to repeat all that same counter-rubbish that isn't even worth saying, because anyone who thinks injured players should be reporting to play for England is either a sadist or a crazy person.

Wenger is correct in saying that the friendly was arranged for a stupid time of year, right in the middle of the Premier League calendar and just before Matchdays Five and Six of the Champions League.

But for me, the most interesting aspect of this story is the clear and obvious way that Wenger has attempted to try and stir up the storm against his Premiership rivals, knowing full well that the English media will jump on his comments as excuse to further kick out at Manchester United, Chelsea, and Liverpool.

Wenger knows that this debate is raging primarily in England, and, as everyone knows, Theo Walcott is his only English international, and, prior to being called up, Walcott had no major injury concerns and so withdrawal wasn't an option.

Walcott was injured in training for England, and Wenger knows he has no recourse to argue the injury. The irony of course is that Wenger has always spoken out against players representing their countries in the African Nations Cup.

But, like Ferguson, Arsene Wenger has never been famous for shirking an opportunity for mind-games. As everyone knows, the FA doctors assessed all the withdrawn players and found their injuries to be genuine, so in reality, there isn't even any argument. Wenger, however, has decided that isn't the case, and it leaves you wondering exactly what his motives are.

Did he say what he said because he cares deeply about the international game? Or did he say it because he wants flack against his rivals? Given that the injuries were all certified genuine, I can only assume it was the latter.

And of course the Wenger bus will keep on rolling this weekend when, undoubtedly, some of the withdrawn players start matches for their clubs, at which point everyone will be staggering over each other to cry havoc.

But of course, as Arsene Wenger well knows, often players have niggling injuries that keep them out of just one match at a time. Steven Gerrard, for example, had an injury that would've kept him out of any game on Wednesday, even if that game had been one of Liverpool's mid-week Champions League matches.

He may well have then been fit enough for Saturday, BECAUSE he was rested mid-week to allow recovery.

I'm not saying Gerrard will play tomorrow against Fulham, in fact he probably will not as Rafael Benitez did say he'd be out for seven to ten days. But if he does play, thanks to Wenger, the press will now be calling for his and his manager's head.

Leaving Wenger smug, and the England team, once again, under fire from its own fans for absolutely no justified reason.