Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere will not be available for England’s 2013 Euro Under-21 campaign, coach Stuart Pearce has confirmed.
Reports indicate the 21-year-old is likely to sit out much of the season’s remaining weeks after a recurrence of the ankle injury that forced him to miss last season.
Reports had suggested Wilshere could feature in this summer’s tournament in Israel, but Under-21 head coach Pearce has said Wilshere is to important to Roy Hodgson’s senior squad in the long term to risk.
“Roy will be the one that guides it, full stop,” Pearce told reporters.
“It will be his call on who he thinks needs that tournament experience at this level. Wilshere and (Danny) Welbeck are so important to the seniors that they’ll go with them, but there’s a point where we have to see the emergence of young talent.
“You’ve only got to look at, say, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. A year ago, everything was on an upward spiral and he was playing regularly.
“Now he’s not appearing for Arsenal as much as we’d like. We have to make sure he’s not just sitting in stands and on benches, but is experiencing 90 minutes of football as much as he possibly can.
“He’s got a long career in front of him, but come international games, every time our top talent is not playing, I think to myself we missed a trick there.”
Pearce believes the senior national side will only be successful in tournament football if a culture of winning is instilled by youth teams also triumph in elite competition.
“I’ve got my own mentality on what I think it would take for our senior team to win World Cups and European Championships,” Pearce said.
“I believe the key to our senior team being successful lies in what goes on from the age of 21 downwards, what experience of tournaments and winning they’re getting.
“Then they know what it’s like to win together and they take that with them into the seniors. I think we’re missing a bit of a trick by not doing it. In my mind, that’s what’s going to unlock us being successful at the top end.”