Connect to share and comment

Football: Stars right to miss Under-21 finals - FA chairman

PlacardEnlarge
(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Football Association chairman David Bernstein insists his organisation were right to let England's young stars miss the European Under-21 Championship in order to play friendlies for the senior team.

Stuart Pearce's England Under-21 squad became the first side to exit the tournament in Israel after defeats to Italy and Norway put the semi-finals out of reach with a game to spare.

Pearce, who now faces a fight to save his job, claimed he was hamstrung by the absence of eligible players like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Phil Jones and Danny Welbeck, who instead linked up with Roy Hodgson's senior England side for their recent friendlies against Brazil and the Republic of Ireland.

But Bernstein is convinced Hodgson's decision to field several youngsters was correct as it gave them the chance to gain experience in the high-profile Brazil clash, which ended in a 2-2 draw in Rio.

"I think when this sort of thing happens, we have this sort of disappointment, you've got to learn from it," Bernstein said on Sunday.

"In this particular case, a development match in Brazil building up to a World Cup was very important and I would certainly defend what we did in having the strongest squad that Roy Hodgson could get in Rio de Janeiro.

"We actually put a lot of focus on to this particular tournament. We regard it as being a very important development tournament for our players.

"It is disappointing but we will learn from it, and it may be that we organise things differently in the future, but that is going to be really for Club England and the FA to sit down and just review what we are doing and how we are doing it.

"You can only balance your resources and play them the best way you think is possible. Hindsight is a great thing in these sorts of situations."

smg/bc

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130609/football-stars-right-miss-under-21-finals-fa-chairman