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Jack Rodwell, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Phil Jones were all eligible for selection, but instead featured for the senior side in friendlies against Ireland and Brazil

England Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce has slammed the number of players unavailable for selection as the Young Lions exited the European Championships prematurely.

After losing their opening group game against Italy, Pearce's side were resoundingly beaten on Saturday night by a clinical Norwegian side in a 3-1 defeat that ended their hopes of claiming silverware.

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And, in the aftermath of defeat, Pearce was disappointed that so many of his best players had missed the tournament, with the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Phil Jones and Jack Rodwell instead featuring for the senior side in friendlies against Ireland and Brazil.

“The teams that come with their best players will win the tournament and the team that don't won't,” Pearce told reporters.

“I probably can't try harder than I actually have [to convince the FA to make players available].”

England's conquerors, Norway, brought a significantly more experienced team to Israel, and Pearce cited the young Drillos outfit as an example of a national side making their best players available for the Under-21 tournament.

“Four of their first-teamers flew in late from Albania last night,” the Pearce continued. “They've got a great team spirit. This team here had 14 full internationals.”

Despite England's early exit from the competition, and a second successive tournament that ends in the group stages, Pearce is still eager to remain in the role.

"I enjoy this job," the 51-year-old added. "Results don't change my mentality, the plan with the FA is unchanged. [I'll speak with the FA] when we get back from the tournament."

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