Stuart Pearce rests U21 stars
England Under-21 boss Stuart Pearce has rested several of his big-name players as he looked to the future for his first match since last month's stormy win in Serbia.
Tuesday's friendly against Northern Ireland will see the Young Lions without Raheem Sterling, Steven Caulker and Jonjo Shelvey - who were promoted to the senior squad - while Danny Rose, Jack Butland, Craig Dawson, Henri Lansbury, Nathan Delfouneso and Marvin Sordell were also omitted.
There were maiden call-ups for Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, Chelsea defender Nathaniel Chalobah, Leicester defender Liam Moore, Derby midfielder Will Hughes and Bolton's on-loan Arsenal striker Benik Afobe.
There were also recalls for Nathaniel Clyne and Sammy Ameobi for next week's Under-21 Championship warm-up at Blackpool's Bloomfield Road.
Pearce hopes the match in Blackpool will give him plenty to think about ahead of making a final selection for the championships in Israel, and also for future competitions.
"This will be an opportunity for a number of younger players, and those who have not had much game time, to impress and put themselves in contention for a place on the plane next summer," Pearce told www.TheFA.com.
"There are young players within this group who will be able to go again with the Under-21s for the 2015 campaign, so every chance to play for England will give them experience they will no doubt call upon in the future."
The Young Lions did not concede a single goal during the final stages of qualification for Euro 2013, and will be looking to make it a record sixth consecutive victory next week.
Pearce added: "I am proud of how well the team has performed this year to clinch qualification for the finals yet again. We are now one game away from a sixth consecutive victory, a feat not achieved at Under-21s level for over 20 years."
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