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Bernstein: Seniors priority

Football Association chairman David Bernstein says the senior England squad has to be the priority, despite impacting on the U21 set-up.

Last Updated: 10/06/13 at 07:01 Post Comment

Stuart Pearce saw his Young Lions tumble out of this summer's European Championship on Saturday after suffering back-to-back defeats against Italy and Norway.

He has had his hands tied by limitations on his squad selection, with the opportunity to call on experienced performers who are now part of national coach Roy Hodgson's plans denied him.

Bernstein understands Pearce's frustration, but insists the FA do all they can to make the playing field as level as possible.

He told Sky Sports News HD: "We believe we do everything we can and we put every effort in to helping all of our managers with their squads, trying to get the best possible squads out for various competitions.

"We have a lot of competitions at the moment with the U21s and the U20s. And of course at the same time, which probably complicated matters, we had two important England friendlies - in particular the Brazil match.

"Although it was only a friendly game, it was a very important preparatory match for the World Cup. Roy Hodgson took it extremely seriously, we all did, and I know he came away having learned a lot about Rio de Janeiro, the climate, the Marcana Stadium, and the whole Brazil thing, which is very special.

"Remember England hadn't played there for 30 years and I think some of the younger players who could have been here that he had there - and (Alex) Oxlade-Chamberlain is a very good example. He only played 30 minutes of football but he came on and helped to change a match that was maybe going the wrong way and put us in a situation where we nearly won for the first time in many years in Brazil.

"I can understand with the World Cup being our main priority - nothing is more important, it can't be in football terms, than the World Cup - that Roy wanted the best squad he could get."

On England's U21 struggles in Israel, which have seen them bow out at the group stage after qualifying so convincingly, Bernstein added: "I was really expecting us to qualify from the group and to get to the semi-finals and maybe the final.

"So to be in the situation where the last match is meaningless is really very disappointing."

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terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

T

he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
Hodgson: Barkley was brilliant

N

o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

badwolf
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