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Wenger backs Szczesny to overcome 'blips'

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger feels goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny should be very proud of already having made 100 first-team appearances – and recalled even legendary number one David Seaman had his "blips".

The Poland stopper has not featured for the last two matches before the international break, dropped for Lukasz Fabianski against Bayern Munich and then watched from the bench at Swansea, decisions which brought outspoken comments from his father.

The 22-year-old moved quickly to distance himself from that direct criticism of Wenger, insisting he was happy to fight for his place, having come through the Arsenal youth system after joining from Legia Warsaw in 2006.

Wenger has every confidence in Szczesny's long-term ability.

"That (100 appearances) is a huge credit to him, something absolutely fantastic and shows he has a great future," Wenger said.

"What is happening to him at the moment is just a normal process of any career – we had (Jens) Lehmann, (David) Seaman, they had their blips and their periods where they were less good, even when they were more experienced than Wojciech."

Wenger must decide whether to recall Szczesny for this afternoon's visit of relegation-battlers Reading, but has drawn a line under the recent selection row.

RESPONSE

"I haven't spoken to him (about his father's comments), but I believe he responded very well. There is a not a lot more to say," said Wenger.

"For the rest, we have ups and downs in our form and we have to fight against that, that is what he said, basically.

"Wojciech has a great future. He is a very young goalkeeper. You do not find very many goalkeepers at his age who have the experience he has already, that is why I believe he has a great future."

Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen, meanwhile, insists his work-rate will remain the same, whether he is in the side or not. The Belgian centre-back has found himself watching from the sidelines of late and Wenger must decide whether to stand by the pairing of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker when domestic action resumes, or recall his skipper to the heart of the defence.

"I always want to play, of course, but the boss has big decisions to make and puts the team on the pitch he thinks will win the game," said Vermaelen.


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