Yesterday we brought you the news that Everton boss Roberto Martinez had told England Under-21s to avoid picking his midfielder Ross Barkley in the European Under-21s Championships next summer. Now, according to The Times, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has declared himself interested in representing his country at that level.
Debate is already beginning as to whether England U21 coach Gareth Southgate should select the players that qualified him or pick some of the best players in the country who currently start for the full national side. As well as Ross Barkley and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain being eligible to go to Euro 2015 he could also call upon Calum Chambers, Jack Wilshere, Luke Shaw and Raheem Sterling who are all under the age limit to attend the tournament.
Alex Oxlade-Chamerlain is 21-years-old so is within the age range but questions are asked as to whether someone who has been capped 18 times by the full England squad should then drop back down to England U21s. Oxlade-Chamerlain joined Arsenal in August 2011 from Southampton in a deal eventually costing £15m and has shot to fame with 61 Premier League appearances for the Gunners.
He told BT Sport about the prospect of playing for the England U21s: “Yes, you’d never turn your nose up at something like that, but there’s a lot that goes into that because the national team have two games around the same time as the tournament. So it’s up to Roy Hodgson to decide if he wants. There’s a lot of players in the England squad at the moment that could drop back down and play for the U21s so it’s up to the manager to decide.”
However like Roberto Martinez, Arsene Wenger wants to protect his player and give him a rest, believing he shouldn’t go with the England U21s. Wenger said: “Once a guy has moved up to the full national team, you put him down and he is never good. On the selfish front for us, when a guy has played 50 games, it is better he has a good rest during the summer. But, most of the time, when they move down, they are not completely at their quality”.
Gareth Southgate will have some thinking to do as he seeks to serve the players who qualified him, keep club managers happy and have a group of players who want to be there and care about the England U21s.
What do you think? Should England U21s select the best players available or should Southgate give more thought to the players picked?
By Gareth Thomas | October 17th, 2014