By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger believes that Theo Walcott should not have played at the European Under-21 Championships this summer.

The Arsenal forward was called up by manager Stuart Pearce for the tournament even though Walcott is an established member of England's senior squad. Indeed, he played friendlies against Kazakhstan and Andorra in June before joining up with the Under-21 squad in Finland.

In the event Walcott helped England reach the Final - where they lost to Germany - but he has not featured in pre-season as a result and will not play at the Emirates Cup this weekend. Wenger questioned the validity of Walcott's dual international role when the issue first cropped up and he has not changed his mind.

"I was not in fairness a supporter of his experience with the Under-21s for one simple reason: the youth teams are there to promote the players into the first team," said Wenger.

"Once they are there, especially at national level, I don’t see why they go back again to the Under-21s.

"The target is not to promote the players from the first team to the second team, they are supposed to be promoted from the second team to the first team."

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31 Jul 2009