World Cup 2014: Taking Luke Shaw instead of Ashley Cole is a waste, says Stuart Pearce

The Southampton youngster got the nod over Cole

Stuart Pearce has claimed that Roy Hodgson has made a mistake in taking Luke Shaw to the World Cup.

Pearce, who as a much-capped England left-back and former Under-21 manager should know, said it will be a "wasted" competition for the 18 year-old if, as expected, he does not play.

Pearce complained throughout his six years with the Under-21s that young players needed experience of playing competitive matches in tournaments and that England had to take their strongest squad.

"Luke should have been playing in the Under-21 qualifier against Wales and then going on to the [Under-20] Toulon tournament," he told The Independent. "You'd be giving a young player tournament experience. If he comes back from Brazil having not featured, it's a wasted tournament for him. I would have taken Ashley Cole to fight out the left-back position with Leighton Baines."

Cole was omitted after missing a large chunk of the season having been dropped by Chelsea but Jose Mourinho said he had "no regrets" and denied he cost Cole the chance of playing in a fourth successive World Cup.

"I don't have regrets because I don't work for the national team, I work for Chelsea," said Mourinho. "My decisions I make are thinking about the club. When [Cole] he had the injury in the ribs, and he was out [Cesar] Azpilicueta starts playing, and starts playing so well he gave [Cole] no chance [of playing].

Luke Shaw is England’s second choice leftback behind Leighton Baines for the World Cup in Brazil Luke Shaw is England’s second choice leftback behind Leighton Baines for the World Cup in Brazil (AP)
"In the last part of the season, [Cole] showed how good he is because he had to play a Champions League semi-final after not playing for a very long time and he showed how experienced he was. After that, I keep him in the team and I push him to get a World Cup position. He played really well, he played big matches and Mr Hodgson could easily see he was in perfect condition."

Pearce believes Ross Barkley is another youngster who would have benefited from playing more matches this season at junior level: "He's been in the senior squad all year apart from the first game, when he played 90 minutes at Under-21 level against Scotland. And until starting against Ecuador on Wednesday, he's played minimal minutes. What has that done for him?"

Pearce, who was speaking at a Chewits sports course in east London, qualified the Under-21s for four European Championships until his contract was not renewed after the last of them in 2013, when 17 players were unavailable and England lost all three games. A number of the squad going to Brazil appeared in his Under-21 teams and he believes players such as Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge have made the right progression with tournament experience behind them. But others, such as Jack Rodwell, Micah Richards and Josh McEachran have fallen away after great things were predicted for them. "We don't use our best young talent well enough," added Pearce, who played 78 times for England. He says he was not asked to contribute to the FA chairman Greg Dyke's commission into the future of the national team.

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