Stuart Pearce will today name his provisional squad for the European Under-21 Championship, with the probable inclusion of Jack Wilshere likely to upset Arsenal. Wilshere, who has four senior international caps, is eligible and keen to play. Arsène Wenger, his club manager, has said that if he does so it will jeopardise his availability for England in the August and September internationals.
Wilshere made his full England debut as a substitute against Hungary last August, and his first start against Denmark in February. He played in both of England's internationals in March, away to Wales and at home to Ghana. This, according to Wenger, makes Wilshere a full international who should not be stepping down into the Under-21s.
The Arsenal manager admits, however, that he is powerless to prevent Wilshere's involvement if he is chosen for this summer's tournament in Denmark. "If they want to use Jack I cannot do anything about it," he said last month. The cost of his involvement, though, will be a delayed summer break and therefore a delayed pre-season, which will disrupt his involvement with the senior international team this autumn.
"If the Under-21s go to the end of the tournament I will have to give four to six weeks' [holiday] to the player," Wenger said. "That means he might not be available for the friendly nor the qualifier because he won't be ready. England have a choice to make there." The senior squad play a friendly against the Netherlands on 10 August, before two Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Wales on 2 September and 6 September respectively.
The Under-21 championship runs between 11 and 25 June. Before then, Pearce's squad play their final friendly against Norway in Southampton on 5 June. The manager is keen to take his strongest possible team and, as well as Wilshere, this may include Liverpool's Andy Carroll, who himself has two full international caps.
Pearce has argued that given other countries will play eligible full internationals, England would be wise to do the same. He said recently: "We would look slightly amateurish maybe if we decide to leave our best players at home because we generate this myth that we play more football than anybody else and all of a sudden maybe Spain turn up in our group and they might have a World Cup winner in their ranks."Reuse content