Cazorla heading for club versus country row as Wenger plans to delay Arsenal comeback

The attacking midfielder is close to a first-team return following an ankle injury but his manager wants to hold him back until after the forthcoming international break
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla is in danger of being embroiled in a club versus country dispute over his availability for Spain during the forthcoming international break, Goal understands.

The midfielder sprained his ankle ligaments on national team duty in September and has not featured for Arsenal since their victory over Tottenham over a month ago.

However, Cazorla is close to a first-team return following the removal of the protective boot on his injured ankle.

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He has been undergoing intensive rehabilitation with Arsenal’s fitness coaches this week with an eye on returning to full training on Friday, after revealing in a Twitter question and answer session that he was targeting Sunday’s trip to West Brom for his comeback.

But manager Arsene Wenger and his coaching staff are planning on delaying Cazorla’s return until after the 10-day international break as they do not want him called up to the Spain squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Belarus on October 11 and Georgia on October 15.

Cazorla is regarded as one of Arsenal’s most influential players and Wenger wants him to be fresh for the rest of the season.

Goal has learned that he is only expected to be named in the Gunners’ squad this weekend if another midfielder misses out through injury.

The 28-year-old has become something of a permanent fixture in the Spain squad, winning 59 caps for the national team since making his international debut in 2008.