England coach Stuart Pearce defends Ryan Shawcross ahead of Greece qualifier

02 March 2010 02:01
Pearce, who has managed Shawcross at Under-21 level, backed the centre-half following his sending of for the X-rated tackle that broke Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey's leg last weekend.

Pearce, himself, gained a reputation as one of the most fearsome defenders of his generation as a left-back with Nottingham Forest and England, and he has insisted there was nothing premeditated about Shawcross' challenge.

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'After the game Tony Pulis mentioned the knowing of the player and what he was like as an individual.

'Having worked with Ryan as well and having watched the incident again I am pretty sire there was no intent there to really go and do damage.

'Probably you would have seen the sole of his foot making contact with his shin or even higher on the opponent's leg and I don't think that was the case.'

Shawcross, 22, is now on the brink of earning his first full cap for England against Egypt on Wednesday and Pearce, speaking ahead of the Under-21 European Championship qualifier against Greece in Doncaster tomorrow, wants his players to follow in his footsteps.

'I think that if you were to turn around and the likes of Ryan Shawcross were going to get his first opportunity this time around there is an opportunity for anybody,' the former Manchester City manager added.

'If you put a good run of form together Fabio (Capello) will be fully aware of it and as long as you are English you have an opportunity.'

Pearce is certain that Shawcross will go into the friendly with a clear conscience.

'If you look on the back catalogue of any player and I am talking about any player you can find instances of poor tackles,' Pearce said.

'What we don't like to see if players coming out of tackles with the ferocity of injury that Aaron has had. But I have seen worse challenges than that this season that thankfully have got away with not even a booking.

'One that springs to mind is Kevin Nolan who made a challenge on an Everton player (Victor Anichebe) which wasn't the best. It looked far worse probably than that challenge.

'You are in the lap of the gods on a football pitch that hopefully on occasions you don't come away with the sight that we saw with Aaron Ramsey.'

'I think the main things I that everyone is sad to see any player get that form of injury. The main thing for myself is that we wish Aaron a speedy recovery. He is a very talented player and has had a fantastic season for Arsenal and is maturing greatly.'

Source: Telegraph