Wenger slams Walcott's dual role

24 May 2009 10:00
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has blasted the probable involvement of Theo Walcott in England's senior and Under 21 teams this summer. The forward has been named in full-international boss Fabio Capello's squad for the World Cup qualifying matches with Kazakhstan and Andorra on 6th and 10th June, respectively. But the 20-year-old, who has suffered an injury-hit campaign, is also set to feature in Stuart Pearce's U21 plans during the European Championship, which can be seen live on Sky Sports, when England kick-off the competition against Finland on 15th June. The tournament in Sweden then runs for 14 days and Wenger has let the Football Association know that he is concerned Walcott will suffer from the absence of a genuine close-season break before returning to training with Arsenal at the beginning of July. "My feeling is that I am against it," said Wenger when asked about the former Southampton player representing England at different levels. Difficult "I let it be known to the FA that he should not play in both national teams during the holiday period. "It is difficult for us to accept, but the rules are on the side of the federation and we cannot do anything about it. "It is not logical that he plays for the first team and the U21s during the holiday period. "They (the European Championship) finish on 29th June and we start training on 6th July." Wenger has held discussions with Capello and Pearce, and the talks have generated mixed reactions. Comprehensive "Capello is comprehensive and Pearce is less comprehensive," he added. Wenger, though, insists he does not have a problem with Walcott, who was replaced by Nicklas Bendtner at half-time during Arsenal's 4-1 victory over Stoke on Sunday in order to gain some rest, representing England at one level. "I have nothing against that," Wenger said of the youngster's participation in the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers. "It is the normal Fifa dates. The basic problem is, can you use a player for two different national teams during the holiday period? "I do not want Theo to stop playing for the U21s, but I think that during the holiday period he should choose one or the other. "He wants to play. The player wants to play and I can understand that."

Source: SKY_Sports