Stuart Pearce's decision to play Theo Walcott in the Euro U-21 has come in for criticism from Arsene Wenger as the Arsenal midfielder continues to be sidelined by a back strain. He has been ruled out for the big match on August 29th against Man Utd as well as England's World Cup qualifier against Croatia on September 9th.
"It was a selfish decision by Pearce, he just wanted the results. I spoke to Capello and him and expressed my point of view to them."
The extended time away on national duty has led to Walcott spending less time preparing for the arduous Premiership season and his back problems might be a result of that inadequate preparation. It needs time to heal and once the season begins there is always pressure to rush the player back. As Wenger mentions, it is not just a loss for Arsenal but England too pay the price.
I think the verdict is mixed. Which manager does not want results. Although seeing England getting thrashed by Germany one does not know what Pearce actually wanted. But Walcott is at that cusp, at that age and as proven against Croatia last time around, a rare entity; a U21 player enjoying national success. It inflates expectations at both ends. Lets face it why would Pearce not pick him?
Unfortunately he also happens to be very injury prone. He also is the only Gunner to make the national squad in recent times, the most visible evidence of Wenger's claim to a generation of indigenous players being spawned in his backyard. I think there are a number of strands here. Wenger might be venting but are Pearce and Capello at fault? Hardly.