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Wenger stands by his criticism of Shawcross tackle

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger maintains there must always be a place in the game for the art of tackling - but continues to stand by his comments in the aftermath of Aaron Ramsey's double leg break at Stoke.

Wales midfielder Ramsey saw his season ended by a challenge from Ryan Shawcross which left him with a fractured tibia and fibula, with the 19-year-old now set for a long road to rehabilitation.

The Stoke defender, called up to the England squad for the midweek friendly with Egypt, has since sent messages of support to Ramsey in hospital.

In the immediate aftermath of last Saturday's game at the Britannia Stadium, which Arsenal went on to win 3-1 to re-ignite their title challenge, Arsene Wenger condemned the challenge as “horrendous and unacceptable”, while also criticising Stoke's overall approach.

The Gunners boss showed no signs of wavering from that view on reflection when he faced the inevitable questions on the incident at yesterday's media conference ahead of today's match with Burnley.

“I stand by what I said 100%,” Wenger said. “I knew exactly what would happen the whole week, that was quite easy to predict.”

“I am sitting here like I am in a tribunal. What do I have to defend? Is it a football game or something else?

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“I can understand people want to be committed against us, and I have no problem with that.

“I love the commitment of the English game. I don't want to change that and it makes the game even more attractive, but high commitment demands fair intention as well.”

Wenger added: “I admire a great technical tackle as much as a creative pass.

“A tackle is an art in itself - that means you always have your eye on the ball, never with a high foot, in your tackle you can already make a pass.

“To close your eyes and go in too physical, that does not mean it is intention, but there is danger.

“Tackling is an art you do not want to get out of the game.

“We have some good tacklers in this league, some who are not good - but that does not mean you go into it trying to break a leg.

“It is not Arsenal against the rest of the world. What I say here is valid for the Arsenal players as well.

“What I say it not just for Stoke or Arsenal players, it is for everybody. I defend football.”

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