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Arsenal boss unhappy with Belgium FA after playing Vermaelen

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has blasted the Royal Belgium Football Association (KBVB) for forcing Thomas Vermaelen to play midweek.

The Gunners centre-back played a full 90 minutes for Belgium in a friendly against Greece on Wednesday despite reporting to national team duty with a niggling injury which he aggravated in the game.

Wenger, whose star striker Robin van Persie is also in doubt for tomorrow's clash with Liverpool with a groin problem, said it was a poor decision by Belgium to make Vermaelen play a full game when he was not 100% fit.

"We have a problem with Vermaelen that we have to assess today and van Persie has a little groin problem as well that we have to assess today," said Wenger.

"Everybody else has come back well.

"It's difficult to say because we are before training. If it was after training I could give a better view.

"It looks like Belgium has made a decision which I still do not understand and we will look to see if we can put a complaint in," he added.

"Firstly they forced the player to travel, then they forced him to play 90 minutes after being injured and had a centre-back on the bench who did not play at all, in a friendly game knowing they do not even go to the European Championship.

"I never asked any player not to go 100 per cent for his country when it's a qualifier or big competition, but friendlies are becoming more and more difficult especially in this period.

"We were the only team in the world who had that schedule so it's very difficult to understand that our players had to go injured to Greece and to play 90 minutes for Belgium.

"That frankly is not defendable. It is disrespectful to the players as well."

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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