Former Manchester United star Lou Macari has defended underfire England U21 boss Stuart Pearce.
Macari wrote in the Stoke Sentinel: "Pearce can feel hard done by because he wasn't allowed to take his full team to Israel.
"The FA argue that playing Brazil in Rio is a chance not to be missed, especially as this was a "dry run" for the World Cup next summer – assuming, that is, England should qualify.
"But I honestly think the England lads would have been better served playing in a competitive under-21s tournament rather than taking part in an end-of-season friendly which bore little or no relation to the intensity we would see in actual World Cup matches.
"Pearce should have been given his best chance of delivering a trophy for the under-21s by being allowed to use all of the talent available to him ... not just the ones Roy Hodgson didn't fancy.
"Some people will say it's not all about winning at that age group. Well, it flaming well should be."