Pearce hoping to see Under-21s grow

11 November 2011 08:46

Stuart Pearce feels his England Under-21 squad can only grow stronger with the more football they play after a comfortable 5-0 2013 European Championship qualifier win over Iceland at the Weston Homes Community Stadium in Colchester.

Watford striker Marvin Sordell and Liverpool defender Martin Kelly had put the Young Lions on course for a fourth straight victory in Group 8 with a goal in each half, before a late header from West Brom's Craig Dawson and a brace from Aston Villa youngster Gary Gardner made the final score more emphatic.

"I was disappointed at half-time, when I thought we were playing within ourselves a bit, but we were a lot better in the second half, and although it was a fantastic result, the final score flattered us a bit, but we did have a lot of chances," said Pearce. "There were one or two fresh faces who came into the squad and they have done themselves no harm."

He added: "We said that the role of the substitutes would be important, but we did not know how much.

"They are all just waiting for game time now, whether it is at their clubs in the reserves or on-loan, or with us at the under-21s."

Many of Pearce's former charges are now involved with Fabio Capello's senior group, Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell and Chelsea forward Daniel Sturridge the latest to make the step up.

The former England skipper is proud to see the system working so well.

"Those guys, like Phil Jones and Kyle Walker, have gone through to the seniors on merit," said Pearce. "They are playing well for their clubs and are great talents, they deserve their chance.

"I have to make sure I am always here and that if they are not playing for the seniors, they come and play under-21s football.

"If they are good enough to stay there, then brilliant, I will be the first one pushing them on the England manager, but it is important we are always there to support these guys. That is my job."

Source: PA