Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

WENGER: MY FRENCH STARS COULD BE TOO SHAKEN UP TO PLAY; Manager Plans Talks before Albion Game

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

WENGER: MY FRENCH STARS COULD BE TOO SHAKEN UP TO PLAY; Manager Plans Talks before Albion Game

Article excerpt

Byline: James Olley Chief Football Correspondent

ARSENE WENGER says his French players could miss Arsenal's match at West Brom on Saturday as they struggle to come to terms with the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Laurent Koscielny was most visibly affected during Tuesday's friendly between England and France. The defender was in tears during the French national anthem and said afterwards that "we tried to clear our heads but Friday's attack returned all the time".

Frenchman Wenger was at Wembley and admitted he "did not recognise" Koscielny (right, in action for France on Tuesday) as England won 2-0. He will hold talks with Koscielny in addition to Olivier Giroud, Francis Coquelin and Mathieu Flamini before selecting his squad for the game at The Hawthorns.

"Koscielny had a fantastic game against Germany [on Friday] and you could see that on Tuesday, he was not himself," Arsenal manager Wenger told Standard Sport. "It affected him deeply and I did not recognise the player I saw on Friday night on Tuesday.

"It's a big game for us. I will talk to him to see if he's completely recovered and focused.

"One way to deal with it is to focus on something else. I believe that it is sometimes an opportunity to get out of these kinds of problems, just to focus on what you can do well and give pleasure to people who want to watch football.

"I would like to thank the English community and English football who have shown great solidarity. It was a shock, a huge shock for our country. I think the football world has responded how you would want it to respond with a big togetherness.

"It was fantastic for France and it showed the class of England. To see the arch of Wembley in the French colours had a strong significance for French people. England handled this situation with a lot of class."

At least 129 people died during last Friday's attacks in the French capital, which included three suicide bombings outside the Stade de France, where France were playing Germany. …

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