Wenger fumes over Walcott’s Under-21 duty
May 25. LONDON. AFP
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is furious with the English Football Association for selecting Theo Walcott for England’s Under-21 European Championship campaign.
Wenger does not want Walcott to go to Sweden with Stuart Pearce’s youngsters after playing for Fabio Capello’s seniors in their World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Andorra in June.
He fears the winger will be exhausted by the lack of a close-season break and is unhappy that Under-21 manager Pearce has not shown more understanding.
“My feeling is that I am against it, and I have let the FA know that he shouldn’t play in both national teams during the holiday period,” Wenger said.
“It is difficult for us to accept that, but the rules are on the sides of the federation, and we cannot do anything about it.
“But I have let them know that it is not logical that he plays for the first team and the Under-21s during the holiday period, they finish on June 28 and we start training on July 6.”
There are two weeks before England face Kazakhstan and Andorra, then Walcott is expected to go on Under-21 duty. It is understood that he is in Pearce’s provisional 29-man squad that will be reduced to a final 23 on Wednesday.
Wenger added: “Capello is comprehensive, and Stuart Pearce is less comprehensive. That is because Capello uses him and then after it is a problem of Stuart Pearce.
“I have nothing against the senior side, that is the normal FIFA dates. The basic problem is can you use a player for two different national teams during the holiday period?
“I do not want to stop Theo from playing for the Under-21s, but during the holiday period, they should choose one or the other.”
Walcott’s schedule is set to be decided this week and an FA spokesman said: “Conversations are ongoing between all and we want the best for the player and for the England teams.”