Jack Wilshere tells Stuart Pearce he can't be risked at Under 21 championships

24 May 2011 07:16
ShareJack Wilshere has admitted to being so exhausted he felt he would be putting himself at risk if he represented England's Under 21s at this summer's European Championship.

Arsenal's teenage midfielder was named in Fabio Capello's senior squad for the European Championship qualifier against Switzerland on June 4, but was omitted from the Under 21 squad that was also named on Monday after expressing his concerns to Stuart Pearce.

Not worth a risk: Wilshere loves playing for England, but now feels the U21 tournament will be a step too far

At no point, Wilshere insisted in a meeting with the written media, did he refuse to play for the Under 21s.

Had Pearce demanded that he travel to Denmark, he would have gone and he would answer Great Britain's call should he earn selection for next year's Olympics.

But in a telephone conversation with Pearce last Thursday, Wilshere echoed the concerns that had been expressed to him by Arsenal's sports science department, who have highlighted a significant dip in his performances in the last month, using Prozone and GPS technology to monitor his work-rate.

Club v country: Wilshere has played 58 games for Arsenal and England this season

Wilshere has played 58 games this season and he was alarmed when he was warned that he could well break down with injury at some point next season if he played beyond that encounter with the Swiss at Wembley.

That it could prove counter-productive when the whole idea of taking him to Denmark is to give him vital experience ahead of Euro 2012.

Pearce has had enough sense to realise that and put the welfare of an important young player ahead of England's ambitions at junior level.

On the wane: Wilshere has been told his performances have been below his best over the last month

'Missing the Under 21s is not just about the Euros,' Wilshere said. 'It is about me looking after myself. Over the last few weeks, I have been feeling tired and my GPS results have shown that. The high-intensity work has gone down. I have played 58 games this year and trained every day and that is going to happen. My body load has got more, which means I'm more heavy when I'm running and that means I'm more likely to get an injury.

'It shows I am heading for an injury and that is the last thing I want. Especially heading into the Euros. There are players like Steven Gerrard who have been injured while I have been playing and if I want to keep my place in the team I have to be 100 per cent.'

Wilshere first shared his concerns with Capello during a chance meeting in a lift at the Emirates Stadium earlier this month, and then he received the call from Pearce.

'It was a bit awkward but he was very understanding,' said Wilshere. 'He made it easy really. I think he was so strong on it to start with because he knew I was up for it.

'I wanted to go and represent my country and I said that back in February and I spoke with the manager at Arsenal.

'But over the last few weeks, I started to get a bit tired. Over the last four games, after about 60 minutes, I started to feel a bit more tired than I would have done i n January.'

Enlarge  Wenger and the club' s fitness coach, Tony Colbert, presented Wilshere with the scientific evidence.

'It didn't really sink in at first but the figures just kept going down, on a downward spiral,' he said. 'It scared me a bit, made me realise as much as I can keep going and going, there's a time when you're going to hit the wall. Maybe that was coming.

'I am 19 and with the Euros coming up, it was in everyone's best interests for me to rest. I think Stuart Pearce agreed with me. He said he had seen my results as well. If I was in the squad, I would have gone. I love playing for England. Every time I get in a provisional squad now, I am buzzing. To put on an England shirt is a dream.'

There might yet be some criticism for Wenger given how much football Wilshere has already played this season.

As Wilshere said yesterday, Wenger's plan at the start of the season was to play him in '25 to 30 games'.

There is also bound to be criticism if he travels to China and Malaysia for a lucrative two-match pre-season tour for Arsenal. But he would argue he needs the rest now and those games will not be as physically demanding as an international tournament.

'Missing the Under 21s is actually a frustration because I would like to be there if they win it,' he said. 'I think they've got a good chance.

'But the pre-season tour is a bit different. I think it's only two games. It's a lot of travelling, but for me it's important to get a good pre-season under your belt.'

Wilshere's fitness is sure to concern Capello but he has included him in a squad weakened by the absence of suspended Wayne Rooney and the injured Steven Gerrard and Andy Carroll.

The loss of his preferred strike partnership is certainly a worry for the England manager, especially when it has forced him to call up Bobby Zamora despite the fact that Fulham manager Mark Hughes only considers him capable of playing for '60 minutes'.

There are also recalls for Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick, but Rob Green, as expected, is not included.

 Clubs 1 Country 0: Jack Wilshere and Andy Carroll dodge Under 21 finals after being handed England senior callWenger to get his wish with Wilshere set to miss Under 21 finalsFA warned: You risk Wilshere injury by picking him for England Under 21sYou'll ruin Jack! England Under 21 call risks Wilshere's health, warns Wenger Explore more:People: Mark Hughes, Fabio Capello, Andy Carroll, Wayne Rooney, Jack Wilshere, Rio Ferdinand, Bobby Zamora, Stuart Pearce, Steven Gerrard, Michael Carrick Places: China, Denmark, Malaysia, United Kingdom, Switzerland

Source: Daily_Mail

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