I was very impressed with Arsene Wenger’s measured response to Jack Wilshere’s inclusion in Stuart Pearce’s provisional 40-man squad for June’s European Championship finals in Denmark.
This story has been hyped up by the media into some sort of major showdown between Pearce and Wenger. Given the increasing irrational way – which is generally out of character for him – Wenger has been behaving over the past few weeks while watching his team chuck away their title chance, I kind of fell into the trap of believing that Wenger might blow his top again over this.
It’s a difficult one and I can’t totally make my mind up over it, I don’t think there is a right or wrong call here, it’s just one of those ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ situations.
If Wilshere is a fully fledged member of the senior squad, then I agree with Wenger, there is no way he should be playing for the under 21’s.
I know he has played in the last couple of England games and if he stays fit and in form I expect him to stay in the squad for the foreseeable future, but can we really say that he is a regular member of the senior squad just yet?
At the same time if England were naming a senior squad for a major finals this summer, would Wilshere be in it? He probably would.
The same can’t be said of Andy Carroll, as he definately isn’t a full member of the senior squad, I’d regard him more as a prospect that Capello is having a look at. Again, if England were naming a squad for a major finals this summer, would Carroll get in it? I don’t think he would.
I can fully understand where Wenger is coming from over this issue and I do have sympathy with him. I suppose if pushed for my view, I would take Wilshere to the tournament and play him against Switzerland in the qualifier, he is only young and he looks strong enough to handle it all.
But if he is named in the first full England squad of next season, then that’s him finished with the under 21’s unless he suffers a loss in form and gets dropped, then it’s fair game to recall him to the under 21’s in a similar way to that of Micah Richards. But both squads would be a total no go.