Jack Wilshere vows to play for England Under-21s

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has vowed to play for England at this summer's European Under-21 Championship, insisting: "I will never say no to my country."

Head coach Stuart Pearce yesterday defied opposition from Gunners boss Arsene Wenger by selecting Wilshere in his provisional 40-man squad for June's finals in Denmark.

Wenger is adamant Wilshere should not play in the tournament having become part of England's senior set-up, amid fears the 19-year-old may suffer burnout after a season which has already seen him play 52 times for club and country.

But Wilshere has no intention of asking for a rest, telling this month's 4-4-2 magazine: "This summer, if I'm selected, I'll play for the Under-21s.

"It's down to Arsene Wenger, Fabio Capello and Stuart Pearce, but I will never say no to my country."

Wilshere is certain to make Pearce's final 23, along with Liverpool striker Andy Carroll, who was another controversial selection yesterday.

However, even with those two on board, Pearce claims his Under-21 Championship squad will be weaker than that which reached the final two years ago.

Never before has any England side travelled to a tournament with a £35million player - Carroll - in their ranks, while Wilshere has just been crowned the Professional Footballers' Association Young Player of the Year.

But Pearce does not believe his squad will be as strong as that he took to Sweden in 2009, which included the likes of Joe Hart, James Milner, Adam Johnson and Theo Walcott.

"I personally think the last squad that I took was extremely strong," Pearce told Press Association Sport.

"I'm not sure this squad is as strong as that.

"There are some great players who have been through the Under-21s and a mark of it probably is the fact that they've made that transition into the senior team.

"If we come back with the trophy, I'll probably turn around and say I was wrong."

Despite this, England will be expected to reach the final at the very least in a competition missing virtually every other big nation apart from Spain.

Pearce's biggest headache could be integrating Wilshere and Carroll back into his team.

By the time the tournament kicks off, Wilshere will not have played for the Under-21s for eight months, while Carroll's last cap at youth level came in March last year.

Both are likely to be in the senior squad for the June 4 Euro 2012p qualifier against Switzerland, meaning they would not even play a part in the Under-21s' final pre-tournament friendly against Norway 24 hours later.

But Pearce said: "Under-21 football chops and changes quite a bit.

"We've got 40 individuals there and only one is uncapped. It shows the turnaround. A lot of players drop in and drop out.

"We had a meeting in March. Those who were with the senior squad at the time came over to meet us at the hotel and we outlined exactly what this summer is going to be all about.

"Andy was there, Jack was there, Kyle Walker was there.

"We've had a good look at it. We feel whatever squad we have, the beauty is they have been pretty successful. They've all added to the ethos of the squad."

And despite his admission about the quality of his current crop, Pearce believes he has in his ranks the stars of the future at senior level.

"There is some real talent - Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Micah Richards - and hopefully they are going to go to a major tournament this summer and showcase their ability," he said.

"That's the best way to get into the senior team, with the manager looking on.

"He wants me to be successful as he realises it might be more players for him in the production line."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
The Queen and the letter sent to Charlie
football
Arts and Entertainment
Eurovision Song Contest 2015
EurovisionGoogle marks the 2015 show
News
Two lesbians hold hands at a gay pride parade.
peopleIrish journalist shares moving story on day of referendum
Arts and Entertainment
<p>
<b>Kathryn Williams</b>
</p>
<p>
When I was supporting Ray La Montagne I was six months pregnant. He had been touring for a year and he was exhausted and full of the cold. I was feeling motherly, so I would leave presents for him and his band: Tunnock's Tea Cakes, cold remedies and proper tea. Ray seemed painfully shy. He hardly spoke, hardly looked at you in the face. I felt like a dick speaking to him, but said "hi" every day. </p>
<p>
He was being courted by the same record company who had signed me and subsequently let me go, and I wanted him to know that there were people around who didn't want anything from him. At the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, on the last night of the tour, Ray stopped in his set to thank me for doing the support. He said I was a really good songwriter and people should buy my stuff. I was taken aback and felt emotionally overwhelmed. Later that year, just before I had my boy Louis, I was l asleep in bed with Radio 4 on when Louis moved around in my belly and woke me up. Ray was doing a session on the World Service. </p>
<p>
I really believe that Louis recognised the music from the tour, and when I gave birth to him at home I played Ray's record as something that he would recognise to come into the world with. </p>
booksKathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
News
Liz Kendall played a key role in the introduction of the smoking ban
newsLiz Kendall: profile
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
Voices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
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

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?