Stuart Pearce on collision course with managers over England overload

Stuart Pearce on collision course with managers over England overloadThe Football Association will back Stuart Pearce if he selects Arsenal's Jack Wilshere, Liverpool's Andy Carroll and Tottenham Hotspur's Kyle Walker – who are in the senior England squad – for this summer's European Under-21 Championship, despite disquiet from their clubs who believe they should play for only one of the representative sides.

Although Pearce has yet to speak to Liverpool, Arsenal or Spurs, Fabio Capello, the England manager, said it was down to him to strike up a relationship with the clubs. "I think the decision will be between Stuart and the club managers.

"The Under-21s Euros are really important. The players who are here are really good players, playing with us. But it depends on the relationship between Stuart and the managers. I think these three players are really good and can make a difference if they play with the Under‑21s."

Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, the Liverpool manager, Kenny Dalglish, or the Spurs manager, Harry Redknapp, have not yet reacted to Pearce's insistence that he will pick the best players available. Yet it is thought that all would have reservations and they will hope Pearce is willing to engage in a productive dialogue.

England play a Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland on 4 June before the Under-21 side travel to Denmark eight days later to open their European Championship campaign against Spain.

Last month Wenger spoke of his fear that Wilshere could be overloaded if he was asked to play for both international sides following a club season in which he has become a first‑team regular.

"You know my position," said Wenger. "I always think that you cannot use a player in two different national teams. Once he's moved up, if you move him down you don't help him at all, so I believe that would be a bad move.

"We had that situation before for [Theo] Walcott [who was also included in the Under-21 squad for the 2009 European Championship] to play. Once a player has moved up and you move him down again it never works. Psychologically you feel you go down.

"If you have a good player who's talented, then when you come out of a long season it's important you do not overload him."

Pearce insists he can choose any player he wants. "It's down to me to make sure the best players compete for England this summer," he said. "I don't have to be a diplomat – I'm a football manager."

Powered by article was written by Jamie Jackson, for The Guardian on Friday 25th March 2011 23.01 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

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