Sir Trevor Brooking has highlighted Spain's World Cup win last summer as an example of the possible benefits of Jack Wilshere playing for England Under-21s this summer.
Wilshere has been named in England Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce's provisional squad for this summer's European Championship finals. He is also likely to be participate before that in the European Championship qualifier for the seniors against Switzerland at Wembley on June 4.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has expressed concerned about Wilshere being over-played so early in his career but Football Association technical director Brooking insists it is vital Wilshere and other promising players participate in the Under-21 finals.
He said: "It is a debate but we are not trying to drain our players. The issue mainly for us is tournament experience. Just look at some of the other countries. Spain is the best example.
"Some of their current big name players won 50, 60, 70 youth caps in the different age groups and have won trophies at those levels. The Germans were used as an example recently when we lost to them 4-0 in the 2009 final of the European Under-21s.
"Seven of them got fast tracked into their senior squad and performed really well a year later at the World Cup. Of course, they have got to be ready for it but tournament football is so different.
"We had a great qualifying campaign [for the World Cup] and then disappointed in South Africa.''
Brooking added: "You can look at reasons why and debate preparation but we do think tournament football is very different. You have a game every three or four days, find out who is a good traveller, who comes off the bench well, who is moody and who is doom and gloom about the place when they are not in the team.
"You have got to find out about people and you only do that through tournament football."
Brooking is aware of the need to get the balance right in terms of not over-playing Wilshere.
He said: "It might be a bit unfair at times for Jack because he mustn't be the be all and end all [for England's future]. You are looking for some fresh blood to come through (after the World Cup)
"Over the season one or two have come in. Ashley Young has forced his way into the senior side, Jack is another. It is a case of trying to balance things through the system so you don't fast track them too quickly.
"Then everyone expects them to be the be all and end all and change the way our team is performing. Jack has been positive about it [playing this summer] all the time and he would help the team and the squad if he plays this summer."
Brooking added: "I don't think the fact Jack could play for the seniors beforehand comes into it. You've got one senior match against the Swiss [June 4] and the day after there is a warm-up game for the Under-21s.
"If you took Jack out of the seniors, he has a warm-up game for the Under-21s and then goes to the tournament so it would not mean any extra football.
"There is no difference to being with the seniors, playing one game, and then going off to the tournament. That is not the issue.
"The issue is 'X' number of games for Arsenal this year and whatever, but every other country picks their players. It becomes an issue with an English player.
"Abroad, they just enforce it and the players go and no-one bleats about it, but we are trying to understand the sensitivities. I just think the international experience will be crucial."