Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hopes he does not come to rue giving Alexis Sanchez an extended break during pre-season.
For the second year running Sanchez was part of a Chile team that triumphed at the Copa America, as they defeated Argentina in a penalty shoot-out to win the Centenario edition of the South American showpiece.
Given Sanchez’s limited rest over the past two years, Wenger opted to allow Sanchez a longer recovery period in order to be refreshed for the start of the season and he is set to make his first pre-season appearance in Sunday’s friendly against Manchester City in Gothenburg.
And Wenger believes that Sanchez – who scored 13 Premier League goals last term – will reap the benefits.
“The problem with Sanchez is to be cautious with him because it’s nearly impossible,” Wenger told a news conference on Saturday. “But you know what I did, I gave him a long break because I know that this was needed for him.
“They played two Copa Americas in a row and in England you don’t have a winter break. He got an injury. I know as well that you give Sanchez five weeks holiday, he will stay quiet one week and after he will start to run everywhere, and he comes back fit.
“I hope I got it right, that he had a good rest and regenerated a little bit, because he looks alright. We will see on Sunday.”
Wenger also provided a positive update on midfielder Jack Wilshere, who sat out the tour of Scandinavia with a knee injury.
Having missed the majority of last season through injury, there were fears the England midfielder would spend more time on the sidelines, but Wenger expects him back in training soon.
“Wilshere has started to run today so it’s very short-term. He will train with us next week,” Wenger added.