Jack Wilshere should play for under-21s says Gareth Barry

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The Independent Football

Gareth Barry believes Jack Wilshere should play in the European Under-21 Championships this summer "for the development and good of England".

Wilshere impressed on his competitive debut for the senior side in Saturday's 2-0 win over Wales in a Euro 2012 qualifier in Cardiff.

England Under-21 head coach Stuart Pearce wants to field his strongest side in Denmark in June, while Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger would prefer Wilshere to recharge his batteries.

Barry, who will skipper England in tomorrow's friendly international with Ghana at Wembley, can see both sides of the argument.

But, having made his England Under-21 debut as a 17-year-old, he can see the benefits of playing tournament football for the likes of Wilshere and other promising youngsters.

He said: "When you are 18-19, you are desperate to play as much as you can.

"Jack has burst onto the scene this year. It is not like he has played four or five seasons in a row, every game.

"I am sure he is chomping at the bit to play for England at that level.

"I can understand why Jack would want to play and I am sure he is desperate to."

Barry added: "The club manager (Wenger) will want him right for Arsenal. It is always going to be a tough debate.

"But I think for the development and good of England, they (young players like Wilshere) should be out there playing for the Under-21s, yes.

"There are always two sides to the story, reasons why they shouldn't.

"If you look at other countries, you generally see them fielding their best players.

"But it's not like the players have had five years of regular football week in and week out."