Belfast Telegraph

Wenger surprised by Wilshere snub

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admits he was surprised by Jack Wilshere's omission from Fabio Capello's England squad to face Bulgaria and Switzerland next month but does not believe it will dent the midfielder's confidence.

The 18-year-old, who has started both of Arsenal's Premier League games so far this campaign, was dropped to the Under-21 squad earlier this week for their own European qualifiers against Portugal and Lithuania.

Wenger was quoted in The Guardian saying: "I'm surprised that he's not in the full England team but if Capello wanted to select him then not play him, maybe it's better he plays in the Under-21s."

Wilshere won his first cap as a replacement in the friendly win over Hungary earlier this month and was expected to be one of several new faces that Capello would turn to during the Euro 2012 qualifiers following England's abysmal showing at the World Cup this summer.

Wenger added: "For me, he has done well. But England have many midfielders now. Lampard, Gerrard, Barry, Milner and they try to recall Scholes.

"It was a little surprise because he (Capello) had brought him on and maybe would even have started him in the friendly, so he must have had a good impression of him."

The Gunners' boss also believes that Wilshere can handle the disappointment of being dropped from the full squad, which Capello will name on Saturday.

"That is part of the job being a footballer," he said. "You have to deal with not only the positive but the disappointments as well.

"Jack is such a strong personality he can deal with that. He is 18, he is very young so you can understand he still needs some experience in the Under-21s.

"Maybe this week he will be a bit down, but I trust him because I play him in the big games. I played him at Liverpool and I played him against Blackpool."

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