Jack Wilshere is today set to be left out of Stuart Pearce's England Under-21s squad to play in the European Championship next month having finally told the Football Association that he fears the effect of playing through the summer on his long-term fitness.
Nevertheless, the 19-year-old will be named today in Fabio Capello's England squad to play Switzerland in a Euro 2012 qualifier a week on Saturday. His long-stated desire to play in the Under-21s tournament has been diminished by warnings from Arsenal's sports scientists.
The loss of Wilshere will be a huge blow to Pearce, who will also have to leave out Andy Carroll, the Liverpool striker who is suffering from a recurrent knee problem. Unlike Carroll, however, Wilshere played a key part in the squad's qualification for the tournament and Pearce thought that the player himself was committed.
It had been the intention of Wilshere to play in the tournament but evidence presented to him and the FA by Arsenal has convinced him that it may be a risk too far. His playing-time statistics measured by the computer software Prozone have revealed that he is covering much less ground in matches than he was at the start of the season, making him a prime candidate to sustain a bad injury.
Despite Arsène Wenger's public misgivings about the wisdom of Wilshere going to the tournament in Denmark, Pearce has previously been able to count on the player's determination. Now that the England staff have been made aware of Wilshere's reluctance they do not believe it would be in his best interests to be there.
As far as the senior squad is concerned, Carroll is likely to be omitted. As well as his injury problems this season he has been ordered to attend a tribunal in Manchester that starts on 13 June over the fall-out from his £35m move from Newcastle to Liverpool in January. Carroll's former agent, Peter Harrison, is claiming part of the agent's fee from Mark Curtis, Carroll's current agent, and Carroll is obliged to give evidence.
The Fulham striker Bobby Zamora will be Carroll's replacement in the squad. Wayne Rooney is suspended and there is an expectation of further withdrawals. Peter Crouch will not feature after his injury against Birmingham yesterday. Rio Ferdinand has still not spoken to Capello since losing the captaincy to John Terry in March. Midfielder Scott Parker's injury problems in the past few weeks of the season for West Ham might also be an issue. Robert Green is out the squad and has told Capello's staff that he does not want to play again. As a result, Capello's goalkeepers will be Joe Hart, Scott Carson and the Fulham No 2 David Stockdale. He has few other options.Reuse content