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Radcliffe blast for Eriksson

Paula Radcliffe has criticised new British Athletics head coach Peter Eriksson just hours after he named his first team since taking charge.

Eriksson announced a 29-member squad for next month's European Indoor Championships at lunchtime on Tuesday, but was soon defending a selection criteria focused on beating the eight medals won at the same meet in Paris two years ago.

That has meant emerging talent was overlooked, much to the dismay of women's marathon world record holder Radcliffe, who tweeted it was "totally ridiculous" not to select any male 1,500 metres runners.

Nineteen-year-old Charlie Grice achieved the qualifying standard of three minutes 42.00 seconds in finishing ninth in a world-class field at the British Grand Prix in Birmingham on Saturday, but was only third at the trials in Sheffield the previous weekend.

Scot Chris O'Hare, 22, tops the British rankings and is ranked third in Europe this year, but he did not compete at the trials. He is based in the United States and it is unclear whether he wanted to compete in Gothenburg.

Lower-profile meets such as the European Indoors have been used as a stage for younger athletes before but, after the success of the London Olympics, Eriksson said he was intent on keeping standards high.

"The first page and the first sentence on the selection criteria is that we will be selecting only top-six potential," said the Swede, who took over from Charles van Commenee last October.

"None of the (1,500m) guys are top-six potential.

"We follow the criteria that was determined quite a while ago."

Asked if that criteria should have allowed scope to blood younger athletes, he added: "You can look at it this way.

"But we have a consistency in what we want to do and if we want to do better (than eight medals in Paris) we need the focus on the medal potential.

"Being in the top-six puts you in that range. I think this is a continuation to have the higher standard and not go lower on expectations."

Eriksson is confident Great Britain can beat the medal haul from two years ago after naming a team to be captained by defending women's 800m champion Jenny Meadows.

Double Olympic champion Mo Farah and Helen Clitheroe will, however, not defend their 3,000m crowns as they instead focus on their preparations for the summer's World Championships in Moscow.

Dwain Chambers, who won 60m silver two years ago, was included despite failing to convince he is fully over a back problem after finishing fifth in his semi-final in Birmingham at the weekend.

"Medal targets are always interesting. Our approach is to do better (than in Paris) - that's what I'm going to stick to," Eriksson added.

"I want us to do well and I think we have a team that can do really well. I am positive."

The selection of Meadows as captain was a surprise after she only made her return from a 17-month injury lay-off at the weekend.

While the 31-year-old ran under the qualifying mark, in a time of 2mins 2.86secs to take second place, she had hinted she may still skip the trip to Sweden.

Eriksson, however, revealed he had not needed to convince Meadows she was ready to return.

"No, actually not. She came back after a long break in Birmingham where she did fantastic," he said.

"I can just see her getting stronger and stronger. There was no convincing.

"I think she is a role model for the young one on the team."

Eriksson was also convinced in the selection of Chambers, despite the 34-year-old missing the trials in Sheffield earlier this month.

"You know he is not going to show up and do a poor performance when it counts," he said.

"He has had a recent injury that he is starting to feel better about and therefore we feel he can perform at the highest level."

While there will still be question marks as to whether Chambers can again stand on the podium next month, Eriksson has reason to believe there are others ready to help him reach his medal target.

Holly Bleasdale is currently the top-ranked pole vaulter in the world after an impressive start to the year, while Olympic bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz will be one of the favourites in the high jump.

Both 4x400m teams will also be expected to win a medal.

"We have already seen some great results going into this event, in particular I think the 4x400m teams are very strong," Eriksson said.

"Other performances through the winter have been good with Holly, Robbie and Perri Shakes-Drayton (in the 400m).

"I'm very positive about this."

British 1,500m runner James Brewer later also hit out at Eriksson on Twitter.

Brewer, 24, who represented Team GB at the 2009 World Championships, posted a mocked-up picture of Eriksson saying: "The important thing in selecting the British team is not giving an athlete the honour of representing their country but in wielding our power to deny the dreams of others.

"The important thing in life is not encouraging young talent but in saying, 'If we don't think you are going to be in the top six, you may as well give up now'."