Fears of burn-out cause Wilshere to pull out of Under-21 finals

 

The Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere said yesterday that he had no choice but to miss the Under-21s European Championships next month in order to preserve his fitness for next season and – providing England qualify – the Euro 2012 tournament.

Speaking for the first time about his conversations with Stuart Pearce in which he expressed a fear that he was reaching burn-out, the Arsenal midfielder said that he had made the decision to tell the Under-21s manager reluctantly. Yesterday Pearce named his squad for the Under-21s tournament, omitting Wilshere and the Liverpool striker Andy Carroll.

The 19-year-old has, however, been named by Fabio Capello in the senior England squad to play Switzerland in the Euro 2012 qualifier a week on Saturday. Wilshere said: "Missing the Under-21s tournament is not just about the Euros, it is about me looking after myself. Over the last few weeks, I have been feeling tired and my GPS results [that measure his running in training] have shown that.

"They [the results] show I am heading for an injury and that is the last thing I want, especially heading into the Euros. There are players like Steven Gerrard who have been injured while I have been playing and I want to keep my place in the team and I have to be 100 per cent to do that."

Having initially declared his intention to play in the tournament in Denmark – England's first game is 12 June against Spain – Wilshere has changed his mind over the last few weeks as he has been presented with training ground data that showed he is slowing down badly after a 59-game season.

He said: "It's been a long process which started back in February. Obviously I wanted to go and represent my country and I said that. I spoke with the manager at Arsenal [who warned him] and then I spoke with [Fabio] Capello. I saw him in a lift at an Arsenal game. [I said] over the last few weeks, I had started to get a bit tired.

"I spoke to Stuart Pearce and I told him, I wanted to go but I was a bit concerned with my fitness. I didn't want to break down next season or going towards the Euros. I am 19 and I have just got into the England team and I want to keep my place. And with the Euros coming up, it was in everyone's best interests for me to rest. I think Stuart Pearce agreed with me.

"If I had been in the squad, I would have gone [to Denmark]. I would never have pulled myself out and said 'I'm not going'. The main emotion is frustration. Obviously the fact that I was going to get injured, I didn't want to hear that. That wasn't good for me. I said I wanted to play and I meant that. I wasn't lying. I wanted to play and I still want to play. But I think it's for the best. Obviously there's a risk of injury and missing some of next season. I'm not saying I'm going to get injured, but I want to be 100 per cent sure."

Wilshere was presented with the results by Arsène Wenger and his fitness coach Tony Colbert who monitors the players' performance during training. The GPS device the Arsenal players wear in training does not just measure the distance the players run but the "body load" – which measure the stress on joints and muscles.

"It didn't really sink in at first but it just kept going down, on a downward spiral. The stats scared me a bit and made me realise as much as I'm 19 and can keep going and keep going, there's going to be a time when you're going to hit the wall. Maybe that was coming. Over the last four games, after about 60 minutes of games I felt a bit more tired than I did in January."

However, Wilshere will be travelling on Arsenal's first high-profile pre-season tour to China and Malaysia in July. "I wasn't going to go if I went away with the Under-21s because the rule is you have to have four weeks. I'll have to speak to the manager. I'm sure I'll go to that one. It's a bit different. I think it's only two games. It's a lot of travelling, but for me it's important to get a good pre-season under your belt."

Pearce said yesterday that Carroll had not been included because of injury. The Under-21s manager said that he was "disappointed" at having to leave Wilshere out but "accepted" the situation. Fabio Capello has named Bobby Zamora in the senior England squad for the Switzerland game. Michael Carrick and Rio Ferdinand also make their return.

England senior squad

England's squad for their Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland at Wembley on Saturday 4 June:

Goalkeepers: Carson (West Brom), Hart (Man City), Stockdale (Fulham).

Defenders: Baines (Everton), Cahill (Bolton), Cole (Chelsea), Ferdinand (Man Utd), Jagielka (Everton), G Johnson (Liverpool), Lescott (Man City), Terry (Chelsea), Walker (Tottenham).

Midfielders: Barry (Man City), Carrick (Man Utd), Downing (Aston Villa), AJohnson (Man City), Lampard (Chelsea), Milner (Man City), Parker (West Ham), Walcott (Arsenal), Wilshere (Arsenal), A Young (Aston Villa).

Forwards: Bent (Aston Villa), Crouch (Tottenham), Defoe (Tottenham), Zamora (Fulham).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor