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Wenger to rest Arsenal’s World Cup winners

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By Andrew Tuft

Friday 25 July 2014

Arsene Wenger has said Arsenal’s three World Cup winners - Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski - will miss the start of the Premier League season, according to ESPN.

Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski

The three all contributed as Germany went all the way in Brazil, beating Argentina in the final of a seven-game tournament. With the summer’s exertions in mind, Wenger has revealed he will let the players return to club football at a later date, in an effort to preserve their fitness for the latter stages of the season.

“I have a decision to make, do I bring them early and play them straight away and lose them in October or November or do I give them the needed rest to recover and get the hunger back?” Wenger asked.

“So I have chosen the second solution knowing that it is a bit risky because on top of that we have the qualifier for the Champions League group stage and they might not be ready for that.”

The players aren’t expected back in training before August 11 with Arsenal’s first league fixture coming on August 16. It means they will miss August 10’s Community Shield against Manchester City.

Wenger added that the situation is unavoidable given the calendar, and suggested it’s as much a mental consideration for the players as anything physical.

“The distance between the final of the World Cup and the start of the Premier League is too short,” Wenger lamented. “And that is why it is very difficult to predict how everyone will cope with that because the preparation time is too short and the rest time is too short.

“A guy who is coming off a high of winning the World Cup, you cannot ask him three weeks later to fight for his life when you are going to Swansea or to Stoke, it takes some time to recover.”

Mertesacker made a late substitute appearance in the World Cup final, replacing Ozil in the 120th minute, as Germany moved to hold on to the lead given to them by Mario Gotze in extra-time, while Podolski was an unused substitute but featured regularly throughout the competition.

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