SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Striker Alexis Sanchez has been declared fit to play in Chile’s World Cup qualifier on Tuesday even though club officials at Arsenal are worried that he could aggravate a hamstring injury against Uruguay.
Sanchez, a key member of Chile’s Copa America-winning squad, missed the team’s 0-0 draw against Colombia last week after picking up the injury in training.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wanted the Premier League club’s medical staff to examine Sanchez before any decision was made on his fitness and warned that selecting him to play in Tuesday’s qualifier could be a “suicidal” risk.
But on Monday Chile manager Juan Antonio Pizzi said Sanchez was fit to play.
“He has been training every day and has worked in a way that allowed for his recovery. Yesterday (Sunday) he did the full work. There was no problem and that’s why he’s available,” Pizzi said at a pre-match news conference.
“I would never use a player that didn’t have medical clearance.”
Chile are fifth with 17 points in the 10-team South America qualifying competition for Russia 2018. Second-placed Uruguay are are point adrift of leaders Brazil with 23.
The top four teams qualify directly for the World Cup, while the fifth-placed team advance to a play-off.
(Reporting by Felipe Iturrieta, Writing by Rosalba O’Brien, editing by Pritha Sarkar)