Wenger urges duo to bounce back

Arsenal boss tells kids to use World Cup despair as inspiration

Wenger: Bitter pill

Wenger: Bitter pill

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has challenged Theo Walcott and Samir Nasri to come back stronger from their World Cup heartache.

The Gunners duo were strongly tipped to be travelling to this summer's finals in South Africa.

But Walcott missed out on England's final 23 while Nasri didn't even make the provisional squad named by France coach Raymond Domenech.

Wenger admitted his shock at seeing his attacking midfielders miss out but reminded the young pair that all great players have to overcome adversity at some stage during their career.

"It's disappointing but I hope they can transform that in the future of their career into even higher motivation, and come back with even more desire to show how good they are," said Wenger.

Mental strength

"That's the only way we have in our job, and we forget many times that in this job you need to be strong mentally.

"There's no big career without big disappointment, but it was a massive surprise, I must say."

Wenger has been in touch with Nasri, 22, and Walcott, 21, since hearing their fate, and admitted the news was tough for both he and them to take.

"It was two massive disappointments for the players, of course, first," he said.

"And for me, I must say it was hugely surprising on both occasions.

"I had contact with them after that and it is something that is very difficult to swallow, to be just out of the World Cup when you had a 90 per cent chance to be in."