England are are on course for a row with Arsenal over the availability of Jack Wilshere for this summer’s European Under-21 Championships.
Wilshere, along with Liverpool’s Andrew Carroll, will be expected to drop back down from the senior squad for the tournament in Denmark as manager Stuart Pearce has stated his intention to field the strongest team possible.
Two years ago in Sweden, England reached the final only to be beaten 4-0 by a Germany team which included Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil, all of whom would subsequently represent the full side at the 2010 World Cup finals. Pearce wants England to show similar ambition by including their best young players.
Any plan to pick Wilshere is sure to anger Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, who blamed Theo Walcott’s injury problems in the 2009-10 season on his appearance at the last Under-21 finals.
England face Switerland at Wembley on June 4 in a crucial Euro 2012 qualifier which could put Fabio Capello’s side a step closer to the finals in Poland and Ukraine. Both Carroll and Wilshere will be expected to be in the full squad for that match, which comes eight days before the Under-21s’ opening game against Spain in Herning.
Wilshere said: “Listen, this is international football and I want to play in any international football. It is up to Stuart Pearce and Fabio Capello. They will talk and see what is best for me.
“I always speak to the manager at Arsenal and I will again. I am sure Stuart and Fabio will talk to him as well.”
Capello added: “The European Under-21s is a really important tournament. This is a decision for Stuart Pearce and the manager of Arsenal.
“Wilshere is really important for us but I don’t have exclusive rights over him.
“He is playing a lot of games this season and he will be playing in the summer.
“But it is the same for players at the Copa America and this tournament is important.”
“I heard that a Barcelona player (believed to be World Cup winner Pedro) has told his club that we wants to play.