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Pearce slams Jones, Ox and Bale

ESPN staff
September 11, 2013
Hodgson defends England performances

Former England Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce has condemned Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Phil Jones for turning down the Young Lions, while also criticising Gareth Bale's withdrawal from the Great Britain team for the London Olympics.

Pearce, who was sacked after England's failed Euro Under-21 campaign in the summer, claims Jones and Oxlade-Chamberlain neglected him over the last year, suggesting they often snubbed a call up to the younger side.

The former Manchester City boss insists his Under-21 side was disadvantaged by the players' unwillingness to step down once they had been selected for senior duty.

He said: "In our wildest dreams, do you honestly think England, or any national team in the world, can turn up at a major tournament without eight players who have senior caps that didn't come who could have played for the Under-21s this summer?

"The odd one was through injury, but apathy played a big part in it. The Oxlade-Chamberlains of this world, the Phil Joneses, they didn't want to come. Once they go through the golden ivory towers of the seniors, they don't want to come and play in the Under-21s any more.

"No national team in the world can suffer that. Until we solve that problem, however we solve it, if it's a case of stopping players going into the seniors because they don't want to step down, like the Spanish boys do and are happy to do.

"Our boys, for whatever reason, be it the power of the Premier League, the finance they get at such a young age, whatever it may be, there is a lack of real passion to want to play for your country no matter what. We have to solve that problem and give them international experience.

"We're really judged on how the senior team do, that's what England are judged on. My mentality, having been involved for six years, is the senior team will never win anything unless they start winning things, like Spain, like France, like Germany did at the young age groups.

"Spain didn't just pitch up and win the World Cup and European Championship. They started winning at Under-19s, Under-21s and, all of a sudden, those players who know what it's like to win together, they end up winning together at senior level."

Pearce went on to condemn Bale's decision to pull out of the Olympics through injury.

"We had a situation with Gareth Bale going into the Olympic Games," he added. "I was going to put the squad out on Friday morning, then on Thursday he says his back hurts and he pulls out of the squad. Then, he plays the first match for Spurs' pre-season on the day we play our first Olympic game.

"We have the brightest talent in Britain at the time, and he didn't want to play in the Olympic Games. He's not alone either, there were a couple of other players.

"Because of the media hype perhaps, maybe there was fear. But ask some of the other boys in the squad, like Craig Bellamy and Ryan Giggs about what they thought of the Olympics and they will tell you it was one of their best experiences on a football pitch."

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