The UEFA Euro U-21 Football Championships begin this summer, a year before the full competition occurs in 2012. The reason this is so relevant is because certain English individuals are making noises about partaking in the U-21 Euros when both Fabio Capello and their respective club managers really would prefer it if they didn’t.
This raises an important moral dilemma. Should players like Andy Carroll and Jack Wilshere be prevented from participating in a competition that may garner vital new world experience, but may also render said individuals exhausted and ‘burnt out’ by the time it comes to playing the real thing.
Germany, the reigning U-21 champions, showed exactly why it can be so fruitful to allow your youngsters time out from club football to venture into the world of internationals at such a tender age, as a number of the players that did so well in the 2009 Euro U-21’s (predictably thrashing England 4-0 in the final) became part of the full senior Germany team that performed so well in the recent 2010 World Cup. It is often said that the top players can only be measured by how well they perform on the global stage, so surely allowing them experience of this whilst they are still developing as players will surely result in a better standard of professional?. Yes an Injury may occur, but that’s the sport with which we hold so much love for. To pick up an injury, you have to be playing football. Jack Wilshere could quite easily pick up a calf strain whilst playing for Arsenal and be out for 8 weeks, where as had he gone to the U-21 Euros he may not have picked up the injury and could have led England to victory, gained experience, a winner’s medal and the support of the nation. Picking up injuries is all random, it’s based mainly on luck. Professional footballers train to such a high standard these days that injuries can occur at anytime, so preventing a player from participating in a tournament through fear of injury is simply irrelevant and asinine.
Allow the kids to go. They have at least 10 years of football ahead of them, touch wood, what is one summer in the grand scheme of things?. Besides, an England U-21 team without the likes of Wilshere and Carroll may face the same ridicule and embarrassment that the senior squad did, not 6 months ago. If we wrap all of tomorrow stars in cotton wool, there may be nothing for future generations to view and experience.
There is no use in taking 3 steps backwards if only 2 steps are made in progress.
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