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Last Updated: Friday, 8 June 2007, 15:06 GMT 16:06 UK
Bentley withdrawal angers Pearce
David Bentley
Bentley was the first England player to score at the new Wembley
England Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce has expressed his disappointment at David Bentley's decision to withdraw from the squad with fatigue.

The 22-year-old Blackburn winger was in the squad ahead of the Under-21 European Championship in Holland.

But after Bentley's withdrawal, Pearce said: "I don't agree with it in any way, shape or form.

"I feel as though I've been supportive to him. He wasn't in the side when I took over the job and I put him in."

Representing your country is not about what suits you, it's about what suits your country

England Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce

Bentley was in the senior squad for the game against Brazil on 1 June and the Euro 2008 qualifier against Estonia on 6 June, but did not play in either match.

And Pearce added of Bentley's decision: "I had an inkling on Wednesday when Blackburn boss Mark Hughes talked to me and mentioned that he'd like to pull the boy out. I said no.

"I spoke with David on Thursday. He said to me on the back of a long season, and possible burn-out next season, that he'd like to pull himself out of the tournament."


England get their Under-21 campaign under way on 11 June and Pearce will not be able to call up a replacement as players can only be replaced as a result of injury.

Bentley has had an eventful Under-21 career.

He was dropped from the squad by former boss Peter Taylor for disciplinary reasons before earning a recall and scoring the first goal by an Englishman at the new Wembley Stadium, curling in a free-kick against Italy Under-21.

"Every time I step out to play for my country, I want to perform to the highest level I can," he said after his Wembley strike.

"To score a goal for my country, at any level, is a great feeling."

But Pearce, who won 78 caps for England, said: "It means everything to play for England - when it suits.

"For me, representing your country is not about what suits you, it's about what suits your country, whether it be on the sporting field, whether it be in the armed forces.

"When your country comes calling, you put them first and yourself second."

The Under-21s have not been beaten since 2005 but they travel to Holland without Theo Walcott and Micah Richards, who are injured, while Gabriel Agbonlahor is also missing.

The Villa youngster could not be contacted before the squad was announced.

Revised England U21 squad: Alnwick (Tottenham), Carson (Liverpool), Hart (Man City); Baines (Wigan), Cahill (Aston Villa), Ferdinand (West Ham), Hoyte (Arsenal), Onuoha (Man City), Rosenior (Fulham), Taylor (Newcastle), Whittingham (Cardiff); Huddlestone (Tottenham), Milner (Newcastle), Noble (West Ham), Reo-Coker (West Ham), Richardson (Man Utd), Routledge (Tottenham); Derbyshire (Blackburn), Lita (Reading), Nugent (Preston), Vaughan (Everton), Young (Aston Villa)

Estonia 0-3 England
06 Jun 07 |  Internationals
England 1-1 Brazil
01 Jun 07 |  Internationals
Bentley picked for England U21s
30 May 07 |  Internationals
FA names 30-man England U21 squad
10 May 07 |  Internationals
England U21s draw Wembley cracker
24 Mar 07 |  Internationals
Bentley signs new Blackburn deal
27 Feb 07 |  Blackburn Rovers


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