England Under 21 coach Stuart Pearce has been singled out for blame after Chelsea’s dual-nationality forward Victor Moses chose to play for Nigeria rather than England.
Former Crystal Palace owner Simon Jordan, who oversaw Moses’s development at Selhurst Park, says the often taciturn Pearce should have done more to make the 21-year-old welcome during his time with his England side.
And managers Neil Warnock and Roberto Martinez, who had Moses in their respective teams at Palace and Wigan, have also criticised the FA for not persuading the player to pick England.
Jordan’s faith in Moses’s potential extended to the multi-millionaire football chairman having a £50,000 bet with former Arsenal forward Paul Merson that Moses would win more England caps than Merson’s tally of 21 — although that wager has been voided by the Nigeria decision.
The FA strongly defend Pearce’s interactions with Moses, saying that a lot of effort was made to keep the player in the national set-up. And they point to plenty of other young internationals opting for England when given a choice.
Roy Hodgson’s assistant Gary Neville was asked about Moses snubbing England while he was doing the Sky co-commentary of the Chelsea-Manchester City game last Sunday.
Neville shifted the blame on to the system that allows England to develop youngsters through junior sides only to lose them at senior level.