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Mar 28, 2011

Arsenal and England on collison course

England are set for a row with Arsenal over the availability of Jack Wilshere for this summer's European Under-21 Championships.

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• Forum: Parker now a must-pick?

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 looks to field the strongest team possible.

Two years ago in Sweden, England reached the final only to be soundly beaten 4-0 by a Germany team which included Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil. Pearce wants England to show similar intent 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. The Under-21s also have Ukraine and Czech Republic in their group.

Wenger wants his star teenager to have a summer of rest, but it seems likely he will travel to Denmark and the player himself has made it clear he will not repeat David Bentley's mistake of refusing to play for the youth team at a major finals.

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 said at his press conference on Monday of Stuart Pearce's plan to include the two players: "Yeah, I will support him 100% because I think the players will be really important for the Under-21s. Those players can make the difference.''

Gareth Barry has urged Pearce to pick the likes of Carroll and Wilshere for the tournament.

"I think for their development and the good of England then they should be out there playing," said Barry, who will captain England in Tuesday's friendly with Ghana. "There's always going to be a sticky situation, but it's for the good of England. If you look at other countries you see them fielding their best players, no matter what level they're playing [at].

"I'm sure if you speak to the players as well, they'll be wanting to play as much football as they can. It's not as if they've had five years of football playing week in, week out."

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