Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that he wanted the former Arsenal striker to play for the club in the last five minutes of the game against New York Red Bulls which ended in a 1-1 draw.
The Gunners were provided with a lead minutes before the end of the first half by Dutchman Robin Van Persie when he headed one into the back of the net. The lead was later cancelled out by a Kyle Bartley own goal.
“I don’t think you can compare friendly games. They played in the final third today. We weren’t playing in the championship where you have to win games,” Wenger told Arsenal.com. “It’s not the same. Today they just had to keep it tight at the back and wait for their chances. They did very well but when you go into your championship and you are expected to make the game, to take the initiative, it becomes a different game. “
Wenger admitted that the Gunners’ performance was a bit frustrating as it was only forwards against defense. The Red Bulls played very deep and never came out.
“I felt we looked quite stable as long as we were not making any disturbances in our organisation. The final 20 minutes were a bit like yesterday, you could see the continuity in our game went,” Wenger said. “Overall, I am very happy with the two days because we were confronted with two teams who were very committed, very physical and very strong defensively. We were tested. On both days, we played very well for an hour.”
Wenger also said that the injury sustained by Jack Wilshere was not very serious but revealed that the midfielder could be out for the whole of next week as he has an ankle inflammation. It is still uncertain if Wilshere will feature at Wembley for England who take on Holland.
“He is a quick healer usually and a tough boy so I hope he will be quicker than the medical predictions,” Wenger said. “They told me he might be out next week. If he is out next week, he will not play against Benfica so he will certainly not play for England.”
When asked about the recent developments on the Cesc Fabregas issue, the manager refused to say anything and said that he had nothing to add on what he spoke about the Spaniard after the previous game against Boca Junios.
Thierry Henry, as expected, featured in the game for Red Bulls and received an overwhelming reception on his return from the capacity crowd. Wenger revealed that he wanted Henry to play for Arsenal in the last five minutes but the referees turned the proposal down.
“We wanted him to play in the last five minutes for us. He was desperate to do it, but the referees stubbornly turned it down,” Wenger added. “I went in to see the referee at half time to ask him to allow him to play for us but they told us that the rules are absolutely, adamantly against it because one given player cannot play for two teams in the same game.”
Henry’s New York Red Bulls was the team that lifted the Emirates Cup in the end as the fans gave the Arsenal great one final ovation, according to an Arsenal.com report.