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Pearce to pick experienced crop

England Under-21s manager Stuart Pearce says he will take the most experienced squad available to him to the European Championships.

The likes of Wilfried Zaha, Raheem Sterling and Jonjo Shelvey have all recently earned recognition at senior level but remain eligible for Under-21 duty.

And the 50-year-old believes the upcoming tournament in Israel would prove more beneficial to these players than friendlies England’s senior team.

“It’s thin margins in tournament football and that’s the beauty of taking any players to a tournament,” Pearce told reporters.

“That’s why I bark on about how you have to take these players to the tournament to give them that experience and hopefully they take that mentality with them when they step up into the senior ranks.

“You need luck and to take your chances. We’ve taken teams to the final and the semi-final, we’ve had the whole spectrum and we hope they can take this country as far as they possibly can.”

The former Manchester City boss, who has been in charge of the Young Lions for six years, added that he has had more faith in past squads than his current crop.

“I have been more confident in the past than I am now,” he said.

“If you look at the team which played in the last but one game (in 2011), you have got a back four that is Kyle Walker, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones – all senior internationals – and Ryan Bertrand, a Champions League winner.

“Then up front you have Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck, who are leading the line for the England senior team – let alone anybody else.

“I think there is improvement to come from this side which is exciting and they are not going for the ride that’s for sure.

“They won’t be prepared to go for the ride they will be there for the long haul and there is a real steeliness about them and a great spirit about them.”

Wed 27 March, 2013
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