David Bernstein admits England Under-21 selection policy left manager Stuart Pearce in difficult position

FA chairman wants a review of why so many players were lost to the England senior side


David Bernstein, the departing Football Association chairman, has promised a review of the selection process that sees England's brightest, young talent unavailable for tournaments like the European Under-21 Championship.

A second defeat in two group matches, 3-1 against Norway on Saturday, meant England are already eliminated after their worst performance in four competitions under Stuart Pearce. After winning only three games out of 14 at those finals, he seems certain to be replaced once his contract expires at the end of the month.

Club England board members will discuss his future in the next fortnight, including the new FA chairman Greg Dyke, who officially takes over on 13 July, in their deliberations.

Bernstein said Pearce had "done well over a long period, particularly with all the factors, he's operated with quite a difficult hand". Those factors include the unavailability of players – 13 of them this time – which has affected every one of the tournaments.

Pearce, reluctant to make excuses in advance, or rock the boat while it was still afloat, came out more strongly following Saturday night's defeat. He said: "The team that takes their best players will win the tournament, the teams that don't, won't, they'll go home early. You need teams to come with their strongest players and most senior internationals."

Norway flew four players back from a World Cup qualifier on Friday night and were put on stand-by against England, although only one of them was required to come on.

Bernstein said that England's policy was that nobody selected for the post-season friendlies, at home to Ireland and away to Brazil, would take part in any under-age tournament this summer.

He added: "I do think we need to look at the strategic approach to all these tournaments. I also absolutely support these tournaments, I think they're fantastic, the players benefit from being here, so I can understand Stuart's frustration.

"But if the two clash, then at the end of the day the England senior team simply has to have priority."

Despite the Under-21 tournament being moved to odd years so as not to clash with the senior competition or a World Cup, there always will be crossover, because there are two Fifa international dates every June.

This year, England's senior manager Roy Hodgson insisted on having several players with him who are still eligible for the Under-21s. Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was seen as the one who might have benefited most from being at a tournament for two weeks, but Bernstein said: "He played half an hour of one match, he got the flavour of Brazil, which was important, and did remarkably well in that half an hour.

"He possibly saved a match that we might have lost. I'm sure Roy was extremely happy to have him there.

"You have always got to support the England senior manager in the pressure that he is under of wanting his strongest squad, particularly a World Cup preparatory match in a different country where we had not played for 30 years."

He dismissed the notion that a player could then have joined the Under-21s in Israel. Bernstein said: "We took the view with the climatic situation, the extent of travelling involved and remembering that some other players had travelled back and forth across the Atlantic on club tours."

Bernstein was speaking at a function organised on the theme of kicking racism and violence out of sport, with special reference to Israeli football. England and Israel meet tomorrow in the final group A game, in Jerusalem, when Pearce is expected to give a game to a number of squad players, while still wanting to finish what is likely to be his last match in charge with a win.

Earlier in the day the former England defender Sol Campbell blamed young players for "believing they've made it" and insisted something had to be done about the number of foreign players in the Premier League.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London