Carroll mystery after U21 delay

Andy Carroll’s participation at next month’s Under-21 Euros

remains shrouded in mystery after the England squad announcement

was delayed.

Stuart Pearce has already informed at least two players of their

fate, with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger confirming Jack Wilshere’s

selection and Scott Loach revealing on Wednesday night he had not

made the cut.

It is fair to assume the vast majority of the 40-man provisional

party named by Pearce earlier this month have also been made aware

of whether they have made the final 23, and full details of the

squad were expected to be released on Thursday afternoon.

But the Football Association have revealed it will now be

announced on Monday, the same day as the senior squad for the June

4 European Championship qualifier against Switzerland.

The FA claimed the decision to delay was made because it was

felt better to wait until after Sunday’s final round of Premier

League games before going public.

But Thursday’s news will only serve to fuel speculation over the

inclusion of Liverpool striker Carroll, following reports he had

expressed concern about taking part in the finals in Denmark.

The 22-year-old, who has endured an injury-hit second half of

the season, is said to have questioned whether tournament football

could do him more harm than good ahead of the new campaign.

Like Wenger, Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish has suggested he is

not in favour of players being drafted back into the Under-21 fold

after graduating to the senior set-up.

Wenger has also expressed concern about 19-year-old Wilshere

suffering burnout as result of the number of games he has played

for club and country this season.

Wenger said on Thursday: “I heard he has been picked. We just

have to accept and respect the choice, even if we think it is the

wrong decision.

“Jack Wilshere is in the red for a while now and this can be a

risk for his health.

“He will respect the decision. He knows that he is nearly at the

end of his energy level but he is keen to do well.

“He has played nearly 50 games this year. To go to a tournament

for me is a massive risk.

“I am happy if the under-21s do well because I want England to

do very well.

“I think it is not the right decision but will respect (it) and

let him go.”

Pearce has been adamant that including the best players at his

disposal is crucial not only to England’s chances this summer but

also to boosting the country’s hopes of success at future World

Cups and European Championships.

One player who has confirmed he did not make the final 23 is

Watford goalkeeper Loach.

His omission may spark speculation Fabio Capello is preparing to

make him a permanent part of the senior set-up following Ben

Foster’s decision to make himself unavailable for selection.

Loach, who was twice promoted last year following a series of

withdrawals, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday: “Didn’t make final

23..so no more 21s for me.

“Just an honour to have gained 14 caps for my country. Time to

relax n have a few weeks off now.”

Both Wilshere and Carroll are expected to be named in the senior

squad against Switzerland at Wembley, meaning they would miss the

Under-21s’ pre-tournament training camp.

England’s Under-21 Championship campaign begins on June 12 and

they will play three games in eight days, and five in 15 days if

they reach the final.