Former England Under-21 boss Pearce criticises Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Bale

Former England Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce has criticised Phil Jones, the Manchester United defender, and Arsenal forward Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for not wanting to play for the youth team at this summer’s European Championships, the Daily Mirror has reported, and Gareth Bale, then of Tottenham Hotspur, for pulling out of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Pearce hit out at the pair, naming them as two of eight players eligible for the Under-21 side that did not want to play for the team as they were already full-fledged senior internationals. And Pearce, who was dismissed from his post after England struggled at the tournament, failing to get past the group stage, believes that until the country’s best young talent place more value on the Under-21s, success at that level will prove elusive.

There were eight players with senior international caps who could have played for my Under-21s,” Pearce said. “Apathy played a big part of it – the Oxlade-¬Chamberlains of this world, the Phil Joneses, because they didn’t want to come.

Once they go through the golden ivory towers of the seniors they don’t want to come and play with the Under-21s anymore. Until we solve that problem there will be no success,” said the former England international.

Pearce also took charge of the Great Britain team at the London Olympics in 2012 but faced similar problems, singling out Gareth Bale. “ I was going to put the squad out on the Friday,” Pearce explained. “On Thursday he rings me to say his back is not so good. But he plays his first game for Spurs pre-season the same day as we play our first Olympic game.

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