Arsene Wenger insists he cannot consider the needs of the France national team when selecting which of his strikers to play.
France assistant coach Guy Stephan said last week that Olivier Giroud “now must play more” having not started a Premier League game this season.
Wenger has named Giroud in his XI for all five Europa League matches so far this season and a couple of EFL Cup games, with the France forward having turned down offers, including one from Everton, in order to stay at the Emirates during the summer.
Giroud has started two of France’s three matches so far this term, but Stephan is reported to have said that the 31-year-old must play more at club level to keep his international place, and that perhaps a loan move in January would be a solution.
Wenger disputed that during his press conference to preview Thursday night’s Europa League clash with BATE Borisov.
“He didn’t say that exactly,” Wenger explained. “You have always a certain way to translate the French into English that does not necessarily reflect the nuances of the subtle French language.
“When they met for the last international break, Giroud has played more minutes than [Alexandre] Lacazette. So his statement was not absolutely right. Why did he say that? At least it is not backed by the numbers.
If he maybe wants to say that he should play more in the Premier League, there he has a case. But competition is competition.
“They have to make their decisions, I have to make mine. I cannot consider too much the interest of the national team, even if I support France.
I can only play with 11 players and the players have to deal with that and so do I. Overall I try to give them competition, which is what they have had until now. But these are discussions I have had with the players. It’s part of it.”