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May 23, 2011

Wilshere and Carroll not in Under-21s

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere and Liverpool striker Andy Carroll have been left out of Stuart Pearce's England Under-21s squad for the European Championship finals in Denmark next month.

• Wenger issues plea over Wilshere

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish both suggested their players needed to rest over the summer and U21 boss Stuart Pearce left out the duo in what is surely a blow for England's hopes at this summer's tournament.

Pearce had been confident both would travel to the finals in Denmark upon naming them in a 40-man provisional squad earlier this month but neither have made the final 23.

It is the withdrawal of Wilshere that will hurt Pearce the most after the player repeatedly declared his intention to take part, despite opposition from Wenger.

The 19-year-old has ultimately come round to Wenger's way of thinking, according to Pearce, who said: "I spoke to Jack last week and he explained that while he told me in March that he wanted to be part of the squad, he now feels he is not in the best condition to take part in the finals.

"That is based on the number of games he has played for Arsenal this season, sports science data which Jack was presented with last week and concerns he has for his fitness looking ahead to next season.

"Jack has always expressed his enjoyment at being involved with the under-21 squad, and while I am disappointed not to have him with us for the finals I've accepted the situation."

He added: "I am very conscious of the importance of looking after all our players, and that is why I have frequent conversations with club managers throughout the season.

"I believe that representing your country in international development tournaments can be a great advantage to players, and increases the chances of being successful at senior level."

There was always some doubt over the participation of Carroll, whose position on being drafted back into the under-21s after making his senior debut was unclear.

He also reportedly expressed concern this summer's tournament could do him more harm than good after an injury-hit second half of the season and Pearce simply had one line to say about the 22-year-old: "Andy has been ruled out through injury."

Pearce's squad for the finals was as expected when taking into account Wilshere and Carroll's absences. There were four players with senior-level experience: Manchester City's Micah Richards, Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs, Manchester United's Danny Welbeck and Sunderland's Jordan Henderson.

Frank Fielding, Michael Mancienne, Chris Smalling and Kyle Walker have all been involved in the senior team set-up also.

England's campaign begins on June 12 against Spain. They then meet Ukraine on June 15 and finish their Group B fixtures four days later against Czech Republic. The semi-finals and final take place the following week.

England's final warm-up friendly before they fly to Denmark is against Norway at St Mary's on June 5, less than 24 hours after the senior side play Switzerland in a Euro 2012 qualifier at Wembley.

England U21s squad: Fielding (Derby), Steele (Middlesbrough), McCarthy (Reading); Bertrand (Chelsea), Gibbs (Arsenal), Jones (Blackburn), Mancienne (Chelsea), Richards (Man City), Smalling (Man Utd), Walker (Tottenham); Albrighton (Aston Villa), Cork (Chelsea), Cleverley (Man Utd), Henderson (Sunderland), Lansbury (Arsenal), Muamba (Bolton), Rodwell (Everton), Rose (Tottenham); Sinclair (Swansea), Delfouneso (Aston Villa), Sturridge (Chelsea), Welbeck (Man Utd), Wickham (Ipswich).

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