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England caretaker boss Stuart Pearce has defended his decision to leave Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain out of his squad to face Netherlands next week.
With Pearce tipped to unveil a youthful group of players, Oxlade-Chamberlain was touted as one likely to be elevated to senior ranks. However, whilst Pearce did leave out experienced stars Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand and included plenty of young players, the only new face turned out to be Sunderland forward Fraizer Campbell.
As he is doubling up as Under-21 manager, Pearce feels the 18-year-old will benefit from more competitive game time at a lower level, where England will take on Belgium at the Riverside next Wednesday.
”I could have brought him into the seniors, played him for 10 minutes and there would have been a body of opinion that said he had bypassed the Under-21s and should never play for them again,” Pearce said. ”If we keep doing that then we will never win at that age group.
”Alex has done extremely well for the Under-21s. He might well be the best player for the Under-21s at this moment in time.
“But the experience he gets from playing 90 minutes in a qualifying match will serve him much better than being elevated into the seniors and having a 10-minute cameo role here.”