Pearce defends Wilshere Under-21 call

ENGLAND Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce has risked the wrath of Arsenal and Liverpool by picking youngsters Jack Wilshere and Andy Carroll for this summer’s European Championship.

Gunners midfielder Wilshere (right) and Reds striker Carroll are regulars in the senior squad but still young enough to play for the Under-21s, and Pearce wants his strongest side available for the finals in Denmark next month.

That is likely to upset Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who wants Wilshere, 19, to have a rest this summer having played 46 times already in a breakthrough season.

But Pearce said: “I’ve spoken with the players and the important thing is obviously the players. I’ll be speaking to any relevant managers that I deem necessary.

“I think I will have a conversation with Arsene with respect to [Jack Wilshere] and outline my viewpoint on that.

“But I think the most important thing is England go with a very strong side and a strong squad and hopefully that stands the players in good stead in the future when they step on the pitch for the senior team.”

Wilshere’s club colleague Kieran Gibbs is another senior star in Pearce’s provisional 40-man party, but his inclusion is not as controversial as injuries have severely limited his participation this term.

Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish is thought to be less concerned by Carroll’s involvement with the Under-21s, but is likely to harbour some concerns about the club’s record £35m signing going into his first full season at Anfield with little rest.

Manchester United, Sunderland and Manchester City may also have objections over the call-ups of striker Danny Welbeck, midfielder Jordan Henderson and defender Micah Richards, who have all been capped at senior level.