Belfast Telegraph

Gary Lineker blasts FA after more international pain

By Staff Reporter

Gary Lineker has criticised England's "exasperatingly amateurish approach" not to select their best available squad for the Under-21 European Championship.

The Young Lions suffered a third straight group-stage exit after Wednesday's 3-1 loss to Italy left them bottom of their pool with three points from three games in the Czech Republic.

Football Association director of elite development Dan Ashworth said that England were right to omit several established Premier League players from their squad, but Lineker disagrees and described the policy as "indefensible".

The former England striker tweeted alongside a link to the Ashworth story: "The FA attempting to defend their indefensible policy of leaving the best players out of England's U21 squad.

"We never learn. What a wasted opportunity to gather invaluable international experience. Exasperatingly amateurish approach!"

The likes of Raheem Sterling, Jack Wilshere, Ross Barkley, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Luke Shaw were eligible to play for England Under-21s, but were not included in Gareth Southgate's 23-man squad for the tournament.

Ashworth said of that: "We made the decision and I back it.

"Youth teams are there to help develop players and give them experience to get into the seniors.

"The players who hadn't competed in the two-year cycle and lead-up to the European Championship wouldn't be considered."

Belfast Telegraph


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