Pearce dismisses Vieira claims

12 October 2012 07:47

England Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce has rubbished claims from Patrick Vieira that English players no longer dream about representing their country.

Former Arsenal skipper Vieira said on Thursday that young players no longer dream of representing England and suggested they withdraw from squads too willingly.

But Pearce, whose side face Serbia at Carrow Road on Friday evening, said: "I think the most important thing is whenever they come here we have to educate them footballing-wise and they have to have a good footballing experience and enjoy each others company - I get that impression with them and have done over the years with the environment we create."

He went on: "A lot of the credit goes to the senior players, the schoolmasters. The Fabrice Muamba's, the (Jack) Rodwell's and the (Jordan) Henderson's for making sure there is that code of conduct in the players and making them feel wanted.

"They (the players) are the best ambassadors I could ever have - if they come away and say to their team-mates who get picked for the first time how (good) it is to play with the under-21s.

"If they come away with a bad experience it is going to sour their taste before they walk through the door, but we don't have that here."

Roy Hodgson has said he expects to name players in his senior England squad who are not necessarily first-choice with their clubs but Pearce reckons game-time could be vital for his younger players.

Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha has three Under-21 caps to his name and Pearce has been delighted with the way he has had his talent nurtured at Selhurst Park.

"They give him the option of playing at Palace, that is credit to them and Dougie (Freedman, Palace manager), he has got a lot of confidence in the young player," he said.

"I think they did the same with Victor Moses when he was coming through the system at Palace and there is a lot to be said for having a good, solid grounding at these clubs and you will make the step forward if you ability dictates."

Source: PA