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Pearce won't question Arsenal's Walcott handling

England U21 boss Stuart Pearce won't question Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger's decision not to send Theo Walcott away on-loan.

He said: "Without a doubt it (going on loan) helps," said Pearce, whose youngsters should seal a place in the play-offs for the 2009 European Championships with victory over Republic of Ireland in Southampton. It all adds to their experience. If they're not playing at their individual clubs, maybe that might be a route they take.

"I think the main driver they need is to get in there and play first team football as much as they possibly can. That applies to anybody but there's one man who will know what's best for Theo and that's Arsene. It's in his interest to make sure that he's got a fantastic young player, who is extremely young at this moment in time, that's got good experience - bear in mind he's been to a World Cup."

Pearce continues to stress Walcott is the youngest member of his squad and is still learning his trade.

The youngster will be required to lead the attack against Ireland as Gabriel Agbonlahor was promoted to the seniors before injury struck, and Matt Derbyshire's girlfriend is expecting twins.

Despite a lack of regular action, Pearce has seen plenty of development in Walcott.

"I don't see it that he's dropped back at all this season," said Pearce.

"He's started every match for me in the under-21s which is a bonus. On top of that he's started quite a few games for Arsenal so I think it's all part of his development. I know full well if you take Theo out of Arsenal and put him in a lesser side somewhere he'll start every week.

"But he's playing for one of the top sides in the world so he's not going to start every week."

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Tribal Football Staff

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