Arsene Wenger takes an indirect swipe at rivals

Football FanCast
columnist
Rob Facey wonders what can be done to stop players
feigning injuries to miss friendlies and asks whether it is disrespectful to
the shirt or players ensuring they stay
fit for their clubs.

Arsene Wenger has accused players at rival Premier League
clubs of faking injuries to miss international friendlies as the Arsenal boss
contemplates life without Theo Walcott for up to four months.

Wenger has called on the authorities to investigate these
short-term injuries after suggesting that the injuries were not genuine.

Even though the Frenchman has been an outspoken critic of
these fixtures, he insists that he would always release his players "unless they are on crutches,"
but didn't think that is the case for other clubs.

"It would be very interesting for Fifa
and Uefa to make a study of any players who have not played on Wednesday in any
national team and who will play on Saturday or on next Tuesday and Wednesday in
the Champions League,"
Wenger said, as reported in The
Times
.

"You can go to the best specialist in
the world and you can say you have pain in your Achilles. He can do three scans
and say there is nothing. You say you have pain and he will have to believe
you."

With
Arsenal losing sight of the league leaders, Wenger was keen to take an indirect
swipe at Liverpool and United, both of whom had many players missing from the
midweek matches.

"I do not accuse Rooney or Gerrard of
having nothing, but you have plenty of people in Europe who have not played
this week."

Ashley
Cole and Joe Cole both feautured in Chelsea's training on Wednesday, so it is
safe to assume that they will play at the weekend despite ruling themselves out
of England's trip, which is likely to infuriate Wenger further.

But
where exactly do you draw the line? The matches were pointless so why is there
such a fuss when certain players, who are guaranteed of their place in the
team, decide to sit out?

Does Wenger have a point, or is he merely stating the
blindingly obvious?

Is he only cursing that he didn't think to stop his star
players from taking part in these meaningless friendlies?

The money lies with the Premier League so does this mean
that they will always win out over the FA?

Should players or managers have any say as to who plays in
friendlies, or should it still be considered an honour to represent your
country, regardless of the worth of the match?

Do you blame Gerrard, Rooney et al for sitting out the trip
to Berlin, or should Capello, who was wary enough at the time, take the issue
further?