Arsene Wenger says he will be man-managing Jack Wilshere carefully until the end of the season after his jaded display against Liverpool.
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The 19-year-old has been one of the highlights of Arsenal’s campaign with a string of impressive displays earning him full England honours under Fabio Capello. And the midfield dynamo has been pencilled in to play for England’s Under-21s, who will bid to win the European Championships this summer, despite Wenger’s disapproval.
Only two Arsenal players have made more Premier League starts than the teenager this term, but after he looked battle-wearing in Sunday’s 1-1 draw Wenger now has one eye on maintaining his spark.
The French tactician loves Wilshere’s passion and enthusiasm to play as much as possible, however, he has now hinted the youngster could be starting fewer games before the season concludes.
"He has given a lot since the start of the season," Wenger told the club’s official website.
"Liverpool was one of the games where he was less sharp, physically. But Jack is a generous player and gives you everything in every game. He has played many games, more than almost anybody else in the team.
"He always wants to play and that is good. It is down to me to use him well and that’s what I will try to do."
Wilshere claimed the PFA Young Player of the Year award at the weekend, the fifth Arsenal to claim the prize, and Wenger believes he was the deserved winner.
"It has been an excellent season where he delivered beyond expectation," he continued.
"He has had a formidable presence in midfield with a lot of character, he is a fighter, a great passer of the ball. He has played a lot. He deserves it."