Wenger regrets letting Bothroyd leave

New England call-up Jay Bothroyd left Arsenal too early, according to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

The Cardiff City striker’s scintillating start to the season, in which he has scored 15 goals, has led to his first international call-up for this week’s friendly against France.

Bothroyd began his career in the Arsenal youth team, but left in 2000 after throwing his shirt at Don Howe after being substituted in an under-19 match.

The goal-getter’s career took a nomadic twist with spells at Coventry, Perugia, Blackburn, Wolves, Charlton and Stoke preceding him signing for Cardiff in 2008.

But Bothroyd has finally settled at the Bluebirds and is now in the form of his life.

Wenger admitted: “He is one of my regrets, he left very early. But I have said many times it is important a guy has a good career, even if he goes somewhere else.”

The decision to axe Bothroyd was made by Liam Brady, still Arsenal’s Head of Youth Development.

Wenger accepted the decision but is glad that Bothroyd has managed to turn his career around.

“The incident didn’t happen in the first-team group, it happened in the youth team," he said.

“Liam Brady is responsible for that. They made the decision and I didn’t stand in the way because it was a disciplinary matter.

“Sometimes to go down to the Championship, there is no better education. It is better than to play in the reserves.

“He went down but has come back up again and we are all very proud of him at Arsenal.”

Should Bothroyd play against France on Wednesday he will become the first English player to be capped while playing in the Championship since David Nugent appeared - and scored - against Andorra while at Preston in 2007.

By Dave Peddie