Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi has denied he has been placed under pressure from Arsene Wenger regarding the fitness of Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez.
Wenger was sent a text last week declaring that his star man had sustained a hamstring injury on international duty and the Gunners boss issued a warning to Chile not to make a “suicidal decision” on his fitness.
Sanchez though, who missed Thursday’s 0-0 World Cup qualifying draw with Colombia, has now been declared fit with Pizzi revealing Sanchez took part in full training and is ready to face Uruguay tonight.
Pizzi also confirmed Manchester City’s goalkeeper Claudio Bravo and Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal will also feature.
“Sanchez was not ready for the game in Colombia, but we knew the injury was a small one and we could have him for this match. The three of them [Sanchez, Vidal and Bravo] are available to me for tomorrow,” Pizzi told a press conference.
He added of Sanchez: “It’s not that he hasn’t trained, he’s trained every day, even when we were in Colombia he did a different kind of work. Yesterday he took part in full training.”
Pizzi also dismissed any suggestion the injured players’ clubs had sought to influence his selection decisions.
“At no time have we received pressure from any club. My stance is that I will never use a player who is not fit or capable of playing,” he said in quotes reported by the South American media.
“All of the clubs can remain calm, we are very respectful of our players. The health of our players is paramount, we will never force any player who has not got the medical all-clear.”
Arsenal play at Manchester United on Saturday in a lunchtime kick-off and Wenger has to decide whether Sanchez will feature, even if he is deemed fit, given the fact that he is only likely to return from South America on Thursday or Friday.
“I got a text last night [to say] that he has a hamstring injury,” Wenger told beIN Sports last week. “The team from Chile has travelled without him and 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 Sánchez.
“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.”