Chile crazy to risk Sanchez: Wenger

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez reacts during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.
Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez reacts during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Arsene Wenger has demanded that Arsenal's medics be allowed to see the scan of Alexis Sanchez's injured hamstring to prevent Chile's "suicidal" decision to play him in their World Cup football qualifier against Uruguay next Tuesday.

It had initially been reported that Sanchez had suffered a "low-grade" calf injury during training with the national team, and he did not travel to Colombia for the 0-0 qualifier draw on Thursday.

It is now believed, however, that it is the forward's hamstring that is injured.

"I got a text to say that he has a hamstring injury," the French manager told beIN Sports.

"The team from Chile have travelled without him but they kept him to try and get him fit to play Uruguay for the second game on Tuesday night.

"I believe that with a hamstring injury, we have to get access for our medical staff to the MRI scan to see what grade it is, how bad it is and make absolutely sure they don't make any suicidal decision that could harm his future for two or three months.

"That is absolutely important. It's a grey area between the national team and the club team and of course they look at their own results, which I can understand, but we have to preserve the health of Alexis Sanchez.

"He always wants to play and that's where it is a more sensitive case because he's always ready to play even when injured."

Sanchez was absent for six weeks last season after injuring a hamstring in a 1-1 draw against Norwich. He has scored six Premier League goals so far this season from a central role.

The 27-year-old is said to be very keen to play next Tuesday and on Thursday he said the injury was "hurting a bit" but that he would be "back for Tuesday".

He had not missed a Chile match since March 2013, taking in 50 consecutive games.

A statement from the Chile football federation said that the player would stay with them right up to the Uruguay game.

Arsenal will not want to be without their leading front man as they approach an important run of matches this month, starting with Manchester United at Old Trafford next Saturday, followed by a crucial Champions League group game at home to Paris Saint-Germain.

They are already without Spanish defender Hector Bellerin, who was on Thursday ruled out for the rest of the month with ankle ligament damage.

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 12, 2016, with the headline 'Chile crazy to risk Sanchez: Wenger'. Print Edition | Subscribe