Arsenal starlet Jack Wilshere has reaffirmed his passion for playing for his country, telling FourFourTwo that he will ‘never say no to England’.
The 19-year-old midfielder, who has already won four caps for the senior national team, was named in Stuart Pearce’s 40-man provisional squad for the 2011 Under-21 European Championships on Tuesday.
The news would have riled Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, who believes his rising talent needs to rest and recuperate over the coming months following a tiring first full season in the Arsenal first team.
However, speaking in the June issue of FourFourTwo – out now – Wilshere insists that he is keen to take part in the tournament which England reached the semi-finals of in 2007 and the final two years ago.
“This summer, if I’m selected, I’ll play for the under-21s,” he says.
“It’s down to Arsene Wenger, Fabio Capello and Stuart Pearce, But I will never say no to my country.”
EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Behind-the-scenes at Wilshere's cover-shoot for the new FourFourTwo
Emirates Stadium supreme Wenger has spoken previously about his fears of burning out the young star.
The Arsenal manager has had run-ins with England over squad selections in the past when Theo Walcott played for both Capello’s and Pearce’s squads at the end of the 2008/09 season.
“I think, in the world, nobody has brought more young players out than I have and I have a good experience of what kind of stages they go through,” Wenger said last month.
“I've met players at World Cups who have played more than 60 games in a season and before the World Cup started, they said to me: 'Boss, I am dead’.”
With Wilshere having already played more than 50 games for Arsenal in his first full campaign for the club, he has already featured more than Wenger had anticipated and the Gunners boss is concerned about the fitness of Wilshere ahead of next season.
Pearce, though, has defended his decision to call up the talented teenager.
"I've been involved in football a long time," he said on Tuesday. "But I've never actually seen a team that gets to a final then decides to drop their best players. I think that's quite silly.
“I certainly think football's about gaining experience at whatever level you have to play, and when I look back over the previous winners of the under-21 tournament over maybe the last 15 years, all of those winners, if you look a couple of years further on, their national sides at senior level have done particularly well. You have to be successful at these younger age groups to have any chance at senior level."
The full in-depth interview with Jack Wilshere can be found in the June issue of FourFourTwo – out now – in which the midfielder talks about his loan move to Bolton and his love of both Paolo Di Canio and Twitter!. The issue also features exclusive one-on-ones with Neymar, Niall Quinn, DJ Campbell and Luis Fabiano. Subscribe now!
By Ian Perkinscomments