euro under-21s row

Wenger blasts "selfish" England over Walcott pick

August 23, 2009

Arsene Wenger has blasted the decision to press Theo Walcott into action for the both the senior and under-21 England teams this summer as "selfish''.

Theo Walcott
GettyImages / CarlDeSouzaWalcott has yet to play this term

Arsenal boss Wenger has also warned that Walcott's injury absence, which the Frenchman attributes in part to his demanding international schedule, will have an effect on England as well as the Gunners.

Walcott turned out for Fabio Capello in the World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Andorra in June and was then selected by coach Stuart Pearce for the European Under-21 Championships in Sweden.

The forward has already missed the start of the Premier League campaign with a back strain and his continued absence will also rule him out of England's September 9 trip to face Croatia in Zagreb.

Wenger said: "It was a selfish decision by Pearce, he just wanted the results. I spoke to Capello and him and expressed my point of view to them.

"It was difficult because I couldn't really prevent Theo playing for the under-21s.''

"Now he is still unfit because he has not had a proper preparation for the new season.

"I'm not so much angry as frustrated. I cannot see the logic of it. Now both England and Arsenal have a handicap. It's why I didn't want him to play for the under-21s. After that we were under pressure to rush him back and he got hurt again.

"If he did not get back to us until July 29 and the season starts on August 15, how can he be fit in time? I knew I would have to start this season without him.''