Date: 9th June 2007 at 12:27am
Written by:

David Bentley’s withdrawal from the England squad going to the European Under-21 Championships has not best pleased Stuart Pearce.

Bentley’s decision to withdraw from the squad on Thursday (made public on Friday) due to fatigue means that England will now only have a squad of 22 players as opposed to the original 23.

Speaking to Sky Sports News Pearce said:

I had an inkling when Mark Hughes spoke to me on Wednesday and said he wanted to pull the boy out, but I said ‘no’ as I didn’t find that acceptable.

“Then I spoke with David and he said to me on the back of a long season – and possible burn-out next season – that he would like to pull himself out of the tournament.

“I tried to say to him and explain the situation, ‘Where does that leave you next summer if you get in the full squad and have a full season? Do you say then you would be fatigued for the next season.’

“Also I tried to point out that I can’t pull another player into the squad, so England as a national side would be a player light – also I have the likes of Reo-Coker, Milner, you name it – they are all in the same position for me on the back of a full season, but they want to be here and want to represent their country. From my point of view to say I am disappointed is a massive understatement.

“But then again maybe I just come from a different generation
.”

Although things have to be done in Rovers’ best interests I do have to admit that I can see where Pearce is coming from.

Pearce also found it had to understand the reasoning behind the withdrawal and continued by saying:

The fact of the matter is that you know full well that you might spend seven, nine, seasons in-a-row – the Lampard’s, the Terry’s they all do that and that is what players are aspiring to do – play each summer.

“If you play every summer in some way shape or form, it means you are representing your country either at a big tournament or qualifiers or whatever it may be.

“As I said, to say I am disappointed is a massive understatement
.”

How this will leave Bentley with regards to the senior squad, only Steve McClaren will know, Pearce says he has no idea. He added:

I have no idea [how McClaren will react], but I have noticed it – I feel I have been supportive to him.

“He wasn’t in the Under 21 squad when I came in for whatever reason when I took the job.

“I thought he was arguably our best player for the two games I have had him, with that in mind I rang Steve and told him, keep an eye out – it is now a case of after today, I will put it to bed and it will be about these boys here who want to represent their country
.”


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