England and Manchester United defender Phil Jones has demanded a written apology from Stuart Pearce for his recent comments.
Pearce, who was sacked after England were knocked out in the group stages of the European championship, had earlier launched a scathing attack on young English players like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Phil Jones for being unwilling to play for the U21 sides after making their senior debut.
“In our wildest dreams do you honestly think that England or any nation in the world can turn up at a major tournament without six or seven – I think there were eight players with senior international caps – who could have played for the England Under-21s this summer?
“Out of those 17, you talk about Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Phil Jones, Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere. The odd one was injury, [but] 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 any more. There is no nation in the world that could suffer that.
“Our boys, for whatever reason, be it the power of the Premier League, the finance they get at such a young age, whatever it may be, there is a lack of real passion to want to play for your country no matter what. We have to solve that problem and give them international experience.” – Pearce said.
English media are now reporting that Manchester United defender Phil Jones has contact FA expressing his disappointment at the above comments by Pearce and has demanded an apology from the former English defender.
FA have now come out with a statement of their own and have dismissed Pearce’s allegations against these players stating that the team is selected by the management and no one else has a say in it.
“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 upon 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.” – Read a statement released by the FA.
Stuart Pearce had also pointed out how Gareth Bale withdrew from the Olympic squad in the last minute citing fitness issues, but played for Tottenham few days later. Bale or Spurs are yet to comment on these and it seems Pearce has put himself in a very uncompromising position. Despite FA’s clarification, Pearce’s comments comes at a time when there is a big debate on the lack of young talents in England and how the youth system is failing to develop them.