Pearce comments criticised by FA

The Football Association has released a statement in response to comments made by former England Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce, the Guardian has reported. Pearce criticised a number of players for not participating in the European Under-21 Championships this summer, but the FA has expressed its disappointment at Pearce’s complaints.

Pearce was sacked after the Young Lions lost all three of their group games at the tournament, but in an interview this week the former England defender accused Manchester United’s Phil Jones and Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain of being apathetic towards the youth team after breaking into the senior squad. Jones has demanded an apology from Pearce.

The FA’s statement read: “The FA are disappointed with the comments of Stuart Pearce with regard to squad selection this summer. Squads were selected for the summer tournaments and decided on by the coaching staff, including Stuart Pearce.

The players were then advised accordingly which squads they were in. It is unfair to criticise individual players. All selections were management decisions and were not taken by individual players.

Pearce had told Sky Sports News that there were eight players eligible for the Under-21s with senior international caps that did not want to turn out for his side at the summer tournament, comparing England to Spain, where Pearce claimed players regularly return to the Under-21 side even after making their senior bow.

Gareth Bale was another player criticised by Pearce after pulling out of the Team GB squad for the 2012 Olympics, held in London. Wales international Bale withdrew due to a back injury the day before the squad was announced but later played a pre-season friendly for Tottenham Hotspur, his then club, on the same day as Great Britain’s first fixture in the Olympic football tournament.

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