England will act in Wilshere's interest

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The Independent Football

Stuart Pearce insists the decision whether or not Jack Wilshere joins up with England for their Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro at Wembley will be for "the advancement of the player".

The 18-year-old Arsenal midfielder is set to feature for the under-21s in the first leg of their crunch European Championship play-off against Romania at Carrow Road tonight.

However, after also being included in Fabio Capello's senior squad, which met up yesterday evening, the teenager could then find himself heading off to Hertfordshire rather than out to Botosani.

Wilshere won his first senior cap as an 83rd-minute substitute in the 2-1 friendly win over Hungary in August. However, he was not required by Capello for last month's qualifiers against Bulgaria and Switzerland.

Pearce accepts it is a delicate balancing act, and one which will be done with the best interests of the player at the core.

"What we have tried to achieve certainly at the younger age groups, is to upgrade the players if they're going to go in and play," Pearce said.

"If they are not going to play, leave them in the age group where they can actually play 90 minutes and get 90 minutes' experience.

"I will speak with Fabio and, inevitably, the decision on what happens to Jack will rest on Fabio.

"But whatever decision Fabio, and probably after discussions with myself, comes to, it is for the benefit of the player, really, and the advancement of the player.

"It is not for personal gain for me or for Fabio."

Pearce continued: "Fabio will have his own mind made up whether he wants Jack with him on Saturday.

"He will understand what the situation is in regard to players, how they are looking in training and the injury situation, whether he's got one or two players who are borderline injury-wise, because that might influence it as well."

Much has been made about Wilshere's progress this season, having returned ready for the challenge of regular Barclays Premier League action with the Gunners following a successful loan spell at Bolton.

Pearce knows it is sometimes difficult to keep things in perspective.

"I look at headlines and watch TV about players and they near enough miss out the under-21s. They say: 'He should be a senior player'," said Pearce, who left Wilshere on the bench for the recent qualifier away to Portugal after the teenager was involved in a late-night fracas in Kensington.

"But these are statements made by people who don't watch the kids every week, don't have to pick up the pieces when their form drops a little bit.

"I would like to think that someone like myself, who does the job that I am involved in and certainly has got an eye on all the younger age groups, we look and think about where the player's best development is suited for the player - not for me, not for anybody else and sometimes maybe not for the clubs, but for the players themselves."