England coach Roy Hodgson has had a pop back at Stuart Pearce over this summer's U21 Euros failure.
Pearce pointed out that key players, such as Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Manchester United defender Phil Jones were denied to him because they travelled to Brazil for England's friendly match and raised the issue again last week, saying that the FA should insist players remain in their appropriate age-group levels, rather than being promoted prematurely to older teams or the senior team.
But Hodgson said: "There were players missing for the Under-21s in the summer but through injury. The only player who actually could have gone was Oxlade-Chamberlain and he came with us, because Jones hadn't been fit and wasn't considered. Except Jack Rodwell, who wasn't picked in the first place [for the Under-21s] and we took him only because he was available and hadn't been picked and all the other players were injured."
Reminded that Pearce had laid some of the blame for the failure on the missing players, Hodgson said: "Well, now you hear another side of the story. The fact is Oxlade-Chamberlain and Phil Jones were the only Under-21 players who could have possibly have taken part, except Rodwell who wasn't selected.
"Under-21 tournaments are for the development of players. It's the senior team above all that counts. When you're not a senior team manager, your job is to develop players for the senior team. Gary Neville, who played God knows how many games for the senior team, never played one Under-21 game."
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