Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Phil Jones accused of 'apathy' towards England Under-21s

Former manager Stuart Pearce hits out at some youngsters - including Gareth Bale

Former England Under-21s boss Stuart Pearce has accused Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Phil Jones of “apathy” towards representing the Young Lions after having a taste of the senior set-up - and also questioned Gareth Bale's late withdrawal from Team GB's Olympic squad.

Pearce was dismissed as U21 manager after the side lost all three of their group games at the 2013 European Championship, and acknowledged he was always up against it after being forced to select an under-strength squad for the tournament in Israel.

He said on Sky Sports News: "In our wildest dreams, do you honestly think that England or any nation in the world can turn up at a major tournament without six or seven... I think there were eight players with senior international caps that didn't actually come who could have played for the Under-21s this summer.

"The odd one was injury. Apathy played a big part in it. The Oxlade-Chamberlains of this world, the Phil Joneses... If they didn't want to come... Once they go through the golden ivory towers of the seniors, they don't want to come and play in the Under-21s any more.

"There's no nation in the world that could suffer that. However we solve that - if it's a case of stopping players going into the seniors because they don't want to step down - like the Spanish boys do, and they're happy to do so... Our boys, for whatever reason - the powers, the Premier League, the finance they get at such a young age, the lack of real passion to play for your country - no matter what... we have to solve that problem."

Pearce also suggested Wales forward Bale, who earlier this month completed his world-record move from Tottenham to Real Madrid, was less than keen to turn out for Great Britain at last summer's London Olympics.

The London 2012 men's Team GB coach said: "I don't want to speak out of school and speak out of confidences, but we had a situation with Gareth Bale going into the Olympic Games. I spoke to him seven months prior to the Olympic Games, (saying) I'm going to put squad out on Friday morning.

"On Thursday he rings me and says his back's not so good, he's going to have to pull out of the squad.

"He plays his first game for Tottenham pre-season the same day we play our first Olympic game.

"The brightest talent in Britain at the time didn't want to go to the Olympic Games. And he wasn't alone, by the way.

"Now you ask the 23 players that went to the Olympics - you ask (Craig) Bellamy, (Ryan) Giggs, players of that ilk what they felt about the Olympic experience, and they'll say arguably it could have been the best experience of their life on the football pitch."

PA

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all