FA defend depleted England U21 squad

Departing FA chairman David Bernstein has defended depriving England U21 of their best players for this month's European Championships.

Departing FA chairman David Bernstein has defended depriving England U21 of their best players for this month's European Championships.

Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Manchester City midfielder Jack Rodwell and Manchester United defender Phil Jones, all of whom could have played for the Under 21s in Israel, went to Rio de Janeiro instead and Bernstein believes that was the right choice.

When asked if he felt the Brazil game was meaningless, Bernstein replied: "A lot of people wouldn't say that. It was very important, a dry run for the World Cup. Nobody can argue the World Cup shouldn't take priority.

"Roy Hodgson – and I support him fully in the view – decided he wanted to take the strongest squad he could get to a match that was very important.

"Oxlade-Chamberlain played half an hour, he got the flavour of Brazil and did remarkably well. He possibly saved a match we might have lost. I'm sure Roy was extremely happy to have him there."

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