Gary Lineker criticises Premier League managers for hindering player development by not encouraging them to play for under-21s

Lineker tweeted that he would like to see managers 'support their young players' international careers, not hinder them'

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The Independent Online

Barclays Premier League managers are hindering young England players' international careers by not supporting them playing for the under-21s, according to former Three Lions striker Gary Lineker.

The Under-21s secured a place at next year's European Championship on Tuesday with a 4-2 aggregate win over Croatia and it has been suggested England should follow the lead of Germany and Spain by fielding more established players at the finals.

Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Calum Chambers, Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley would all be eligible to play for the Under-21s in June but club bosses remain unconvinced.

Arsenal's Arsene Wenger and Everton's Roberto Martinez have both voiced concerns about the potential for fatigue and former England striker Lineker expressed his disappointment at the duo's stance.

 

"Won't happen, but I wish PL managers would support their young players' international careers, not hinder them." Lineker tweeted, adding a link to Wenger and Martinez's comments.

"All our star under 21 players should go to the finals next summer if fit. Wonderful tournament experience. Other countries insist on it.

"I get managers me, me, me attitude, but wouldn't it be refreshing if, for once, they thought about the good of the national game?"

Germany won the European Championship in 2009, thrashing England 4-0 in the final.

Five players who started that match - Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Benedikt Howedes, Mesut Ozil and Mats Hummels - were also part of the German side that beat Argentina 1-0 in the World Cup final earlier this year.

 

Everton boss Martinez, however, believes parachuting senior players into the junior ranks is not the answer, insisting Toffees midfielder Barkley will need a rest at the end of the campaign.

"If the tournament was now, it would be a good opportunity for Ross to get some playing time but if it is at the end of a season where he has played consistently for 10 months then he needs to have a break," Martinez said.

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England Under-21s manager Gareth Southgate must now decide if he will take senior players to finals

"We keep talking about players who need to make tournaments but I think we need to start creating a way of playing and that way of playing will demand one player or another.

"It is not because bringing so many good names together will give you a chance of being successful.

"What would be the under-21s' objective - (is it) to get players into the senior side? Because if players are already in the senior side what would be the motivation for a player to go into the under-21s?"

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"Sometimes we speak too much about individual names. You need to look into it on an individual case; players who have played too much football, the needs of the team more importantly."

Wenger, who is in charge of a number of young England starlets at Arsenal, is also sceptical.

"Once a guy has moved up to the full national team, (if) you put him down (to the under-21s) he is never good," Wenger said.

"Apart from on the selfish front for us when a guy has played 50 games, it is better that a guy has a good rest during the summer.

"But most of the time, when they move down, they are not completely at their quality."

PA

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