Jack Wilshere and Andy Carroll have been controversially omitted from the England squad for next month's European Under-21 Championship finals.
Stuart Pearce left out Arsenal midfielder Wilshere and Liverpool striker Carroll in what is 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 Gunners boss Arsene 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."
He added: "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. 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 had simply one line to say about the 22-year-old: "Andy has been ruled out through injury."
England U21s squad for the UEFA U21 Championship in Denmark next month: 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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