Pearce ready to defy Arsenal over Wilshere
Published 22:31 24/04/12 By Darren Lewis
Defiant Stuart Pearce has warned Arsene Wenger: “You can’t stop me taking Jack Wilshere to the Olympics.”
Great Britain men's football coach Pearce has the Arsenal midfielder on his 80-man short-list for this summer, even though Wenger has already ruled him out for the competition.
Pearce is adamant that, as long as Wilshere proves he's fit after a season wrecked by injury, Wenger will be powerless to block the youngster from being called up for group games against Uruguay, Senegal and the United Arab Emirates.
Pearce said: “We’re in constant contact with Arsenal and we’ll see how this one rides.
“But, will any manager get a veto over who I select? Of course not.
"We would obviously let them know if their players are in contention and the dates they would need to be made available.
“But we’re talking about Great Britain here. The Olympic Games.
"If you strip it down solely to the players, this is an opportunity of a lifetime.
“Lionel Messi took his club to court because he wanted to play at the Olympics. That’s the best player in the world.
“I wouldn’t want to get into a legal battle, but we’re not talking about taking players away for a whole season.
"We’re not even asking them to miss a competitive match.”
Wenger and Pearce have clashed several times over the selection of Jack Wilshere and Gunners team-mate Theo Walcott for the England Under-21s, which Pearce also manages.
Last May, Pearce singled out the Frenchman as the only manager to give him grief over his selection policy, saying: “Over a four-year period, I have only ever heard Arsene Wenger’s name mentioned in respect to this.”
Wilshere has not played a competitive game since England’s 2-2 draw with Switzerland last June.
He he picked up an ankle injury in pre-season the following month, then suffered a stress fracture in his right foot in February during his rehab.
Wenger is unwilling to take any chances with the player, as he wants Wilshere 100% for next season.
The Arsenal boss said last week: “The Olympics would be the worst idea for him.”
Pearce said on Tuesday, however: “That’s his opinion. I can’t change his opinion, and it’s not of great concern to me.”