• Premier League

Wenger: Diaby not ready for France return

ESPN staff
January 30, 2013

Arsene Wenger has pleaded with France coach Didier Deschamps not to rush Abou Diaby back into international football to help preserve the Arsenal midfielder's fragile fitness.

Diaby, 26, only returned from a three-month lay-off due to a hip injury on January 13, and has made four competitive appearances since.

He could feature against Liverpool on Wednesday evening, and Deschamps is set to name his France squad on Thursday for the friendly with Germany on February 6.

"It's too soon. I would like it if he wasn't called up. For example, I may myself not play him against Liverpool," Wenger said of a player who has featured in just 27 Premier League games in the last two-and-a-half seasons and made only four substitute appearances in the league last term.

"It's a problem for him to play match after match. He's not ready and it's too soon for him to get back into the France set up."

Wenger's words are unlikely to be met favourably by Deschamps, who has already shown himself unwilling to bend to the demands of his compatriot.

The pair clashed after Deschamps played Diaby in his country's first 2014 World Cup qualifier against Finland in September, a selection vindicated as the former Auxerre midfielder scored the winner in Helsinki.

"I would like to remind Arsene Wenger that he's not the one to decide who's picked, and how much of a game they'll play," Deschamps said at the time. "In case he doesn't know, there is someone who decides: me."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.