Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger maintains he would never stop midfielder Jack Wilshere playing for England at any level – but warned the Football Association must act in a “responsible way” over the teenager.
England Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce has named the 19-year-old in his provisional 40-man squad for June’s European Championship finals in Denmark.
However, national team manager Fabio Capello is also likely to want the combative midfielder for both the European Championship qualifier against Switzerland at Wembley on June 4 and then the friendly with Holland ahead of the 2011/2012 campaign.
Gunners boss Wenger, though, is concerned over burnout, with Wilshere already having played more than 50 times for club and country in what has been a breakthrough season.
“I would never say that [Wilshere cannot play for England], first of all because I don’t feel I have the right to do that,” said Wenger.
“I educate English players to play for their country, if they can, but I would ask Fabio Capello to consider the consequences of a boy who is 19 years old who has played around 50 games at the end of the season, who has played for the first team and then a tournament on the back of it.
“What will the consequences be for the next season?
“I don’t know but I feel the youth system is there to promote the players to play in the top team.”
Wenger added: “It is the federation’s decision and the federation has to act in a responsible way.
“You cannot ask Jack if he wants to play – do you really think he will say no? I don’t think that’s realistic.
“I am happy that he wants to play every single game for his country.
“The question raised by him playing are the consequences for the country, for England.”
Pearce revealed he twice attempted to contact Wenger to discuss Wilshere’s inclusion before the squad announcement on Tuesday, but insisted it would only be a “courtesy” call, stating his case for selecting the midfielder would not be swayed by any counter arguments.
Wenger maintains he can also argue his case, but ultimately will have to accept the final decision of the FA, which would probably mean Wilshere having an extended break and missing the opening of the new campaign.
“I can see it from Pearce’s point of view,” he said.
“I called Stuart Pearce and explained to him why I am against it and I told him as well that at the end of the day I give him my honest opinion and I will respect the decision of the FA.
“I think it is better than the other round than say he is right, but think he is wrong.”