Arsenal midfielder to miss internationals

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Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky has pulled out of the Czech Republic squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Bulgaria.

Arsene Wenger asked the Czech football association for special dispensation for Rosicky to pull out of the squad because of their concerns over hit fitness.

The 33-year-old only returned from a calf injury last week in Arsenal's impressive Champions League victory over Napoli, where he made his first start in nearly three weeks after limping out of a friendly loss to Italy due to a calf problem.

He played just over an hour of the win against the Serie A side before coming on for the final 30 minutes in Sunday's 1-1 draw at West Brom.

"Arsenal have asked us to excuse Rosicky for health reasons. We have called up Borek Dockal [of Sparta Prague]," said interim Czech coach Josef Pesice.

Arsenal's request was likely granted because Czech Republic have little to play for in the two matches, as a disastrous qualification campaign has meant they are probably going to miss out on Brazil 2014.

Wenger will be relieved at the news as he only has a handful of fit senior midfielders at Emirates Stadium and Rosicky is one of the few that is able to operate comfortably on the flanks while wide men Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are still out.

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