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Shoot-out holds no fear for Pearce

16 Oct 2012 08:47:51

Shoot-out holds no fear for Pearce

England Under-21 boss Stuart Pearce is convinced his team are ready for penalties should their Euro 2013 destiny be settled that way in Serbia.

Pearce's side could be involved in a shoot-out on Tuesday if they fail to sufficiently protect their 1-0 lead in the second leg of their European Championship qualifying play-off in Krusevac. If it comes to down to penalties Pearce knows that he can rely on West Brom defender Craig Dawson, who scored the only goal of last week's first leg from the spot.

"We're all ready for penalties as we normally are. We practise them after every training session. If he (Craig) is playing he'll be our penalty taker," Pearce told TheFA.com.

"No doubt some people were squirming around when a defender went up to take the penalty on Friday.

"But when you've seen Craig Dawson take penalties for the best part of a year and a half, and you've got all the stats on the board, the penalty order speaks for itself."

Dawson's strike - his fifth goal of the campaign - was England's only reward for a dominant display at Carrow Road last Friday.

Pearce's side created numerous chances, but just as impressive was a defensive performance which yielded a fourth successive clean sheet and a fifth in six games.

Another one would obviously guarantee England progress to a fourth successive European Championship finals at Under-21 level.

Pearce will have to make one enforced change with Manchester City midfielder Jack Rodwell pulling out with a hamstring injury. Despite that Pearce is happy with the make-up of his squad as they look to secure a place at next summer's tournament in Israel.

He said: "There are no problems to report, having got here. Everyone is fine and we are pleased with that. We lost one or two over the period before and Jack being missing from the game is a bit of blow for us, but that is the nature of it."


PA

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