• Arsenal manager says decision to retire came as a surprise
• Chelsea travel to the Emirates on Saturday
Arsène Wenger believes John Terry might have acted prematurely in announcing his international retirement in advance of the result of his FA disciplinary hearing.
"If it is really his gut feeling, that he has enough of international football, you have to respect that. But if it is because of that story – he knows more, much more than I do – maybe you would think from the outside that the decision is a bit early," said the Arsenal manager.
"His retirement was a surprise for me. If that is how he feels, you have to respect that. He has played many games for England and you have to respect that decision. Paul Scholes made that decision a long time ago, and very early, and everybody respected it as well."
The Frenchman suggested that the emotion of this very specific situation, with Terry having been to court on a racism allegation, then cleared, and subsequently investigated by the FA, might have propelled the Chelsea defender into a stance he may later regret. "Sometimes you only feel how much you miss things when you don't have them anymore," Wenger said.
Speaking before Chelsea's trip to Arsenal on Saturday, Wenger had no hesitation in saying Terry would be in the right frame of mind to play, regardless of how little time he has spent training this week because of his presence at the hearing at Wembley. "He has shown in the past he can deal with that," Wenger said.
"We do not want Chelsea to be weaker. We want to beat a Chelsea team that has all their assets and we do not even think about that. What we focus on is on our side, to try to be at the best possible level, because anyway Chelsea has 25 players of a top level. Terry in the big games has experience and leadership qualities that can always be important. We have no speculation about that at all."