England Under-21 squad announcement delayed
Andy Carroll's participation at next month's European Under-21 Championship was shrouded in mystery today after Stuart Pearce delayed announcing his squad until next week.
Pearce has already informed at least two players of their fate, with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger this morning confirming Jack Wilshere's selection and Scott Loach last night revealing he had not made the cut.
It is fair to assume the vast majority of the 40-man provisional party named by Pearce earlier this month have also been made aware of whether they have made the final 23, and full details of the squad were expected to be released this afternoon.
But the Football Association have revealed it will now be announced on Monday, the same day as the senior squad for the June 4 European Championship qualifier against Switzerland.
The FA claimed the decision to delay was made because it was felt better to wait until after Sunday's final round of Barclays Premier League games before going public.
But today's news will only serve to fuel speculation over the inclusion of Liverpool striker Carroll, following reports he had expressed concern about taking part in the finals in Denmark.
The 22-year-old, who has endured an injury-hit second half of the season, is said to have questioned whether tournament football could do him more harm than good ahead of the new campaign.
Like Wenger, Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish has suggested he is not in favour of players being drafted back into the under-21 fold after graduating to the senior set-up.
Wenger has also expressed concern about 19-year-old Wilshere suffering burnout as result of the number of games he has played for club and country this season.
Wenger said today: "I heard he has been picked. We just have to accept and respect the choice, even if we think it is the wrong decision.
"Jack Wilshere is in the red for a while now and this can be a risk for his health.
"He will respect the decision. He knows that he is nearly at the end of his energy level but he is keen to do well.
"He has played nearly 50 games this year. To go to a tournament for me is a massive risk.
"I am happy if the under-21s do well because I want England to do very well.
"I think it is not the right decision but will respect (it) and let him go."
Pearce has been adamant that including the best players at his disposal is crucial not only to England's chances this summer but also to boosting the country's hopes of success at future World Cups and European Championships.
One player who has confirmed he did not make the final 23 is Watford goalkeeper Loach.
His omission may spark speculation Fabio Capello is preparing to make him a permanent part of the senior set-up following Ben Foster's decision to make himself unavailable for selection.
Loach, who was twice promoted last year following a series of withdrawals, wrote on Twitter yesterday: "Didn't make final 23..so no more 21s for me.
"Just an honour to have gained 14 caps for my country. Time to relax n have a few weeks off now."
Both Wilshere and Carroll are expected to be named in the senior squad against Switzerland at Wembley, meaning they would miss the under-21s' pre-tournament training camp.
England's Under-21 Championship campaign begins on June 12 and they will play three games in eight days, and five in 15 days if they reach the final.
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