Following quotes from Owen Hargreaves questioning the treatment he received on a long-term knee injury at Manchester United , Arsene Wenger was quizzed by the media at his weekly press conference on the relationship between his players and the club’s medical staff and whether he had ever forced a player to take to the pitch unfit.
Hargreaves, who had played only ten minutes of football in three years before making his debut for Manchester City on Wednesday night, is quoted as saying he received injections from the Old Trafford doctors which made him feel like a ‘guinea pig’, before playing for United carrying muscle injuries which forced him from the field shortly after kick-off in his only appearance last season.
Reflecting on the scenario laid out by the England international, Wenger revealed his views on the situation at Arsenal:
“My reaction is that it is not the responsibility of the manager, it is the responsibility of the doctor. The doctor takes the responsibility to treat the players.
“If the players feel badly treated they have to turn back to the medical department.
“You do not want to interfere with that, I believe that in a club, and any company, everybody does the job they are paid for and doesn’t interfere too much with the job of others.”
Asked if he had ever pushed his squad members to play despite knowing they were not fully fit, Wenger vehemently denied any such action:
“I never did it, I never forced anybody to play. I’ve stopped many who have wanted to play and did not play them. Personally I don’t feel concerned by that problem at all.
“My belief is that if a player is not 100 per cent don’t play him, no matter how good he is…I’ve always stuck to that.”
Pressed for further reaction on the specifics of Hargreaves’ annoyance with Manchester United, Wenger wisely made clear that he was not in any situation to pass judgement on an issue affecting another club.
“I don’t know Hargreaves. I cannot interfere in that, because I don’t know what happened. Our society is sick enough of people talking about stuff they don’t know about. When I don’t know, I don’t know.”