Pearce wants top U21 players

25 November 2011 06:16

England Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce fears the national team of the future will lack a winning mentality if he is prevented from fielding his strongest team at major tournaments.

Pearce has seen several of his squad, including Phil Jones, Danny Welbeck and Kyle Walker, make the step up to senior England duty during the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, but the former Nottingham Forest defender insists they should still be available for U-21 competitions.

"Until we start putting out our strongest players out at all the tournaments we won't win," Pearce said. "We're England. We're supposed to be one of the stronger powers in the world but until we start fielding our strongest team consistently we'll fail to win trophies and if we fail to win trophies, players won't know what it's like to be in a winning side."

He added: "I see the Spanish, the French, the Germans turn up to major tournaments with all their players and continually we turn up with four or five of our best players missing.

"You can't win those tournaments at the younger age groups. I think Arsene Wenger made the comment last week when Wayne Rooney was suspended for the (Euro 2012) Championship, you can't win the tournament without your best players.

"That's become evident so it's a little bit of a frustration for me and it's something we've got to improve upon to make sure our better players are always at the major tournaments because the pool of talent in this country is not limitless."

Pearce cited the example of Spain and Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata, who helped his country win the 2010 World Cup before he returned to the U-21 set-up.

Mata was a key part of the team that won the 2011 UEFA European U-21 Championship, but Pearce believes there would be uproar if a similar situation occurred in England.

"If I look back and see the U-21 champions Spain, Juan Mata turned up with a World Cup winners medal at senior level," Pearce said.

"Now what would be the media clamour in this country if one of our players that had already won a World Cup winners' medal had come back to play for the Under-21s? "I know the answer already without asking the question."

Source: PA