Pearce targets Euro success

England Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce will be disappointed with anything less than victory at next month's European Championship.

Last Updated: 14/05/13 at 15:39 Post Comment

McManaman: Gets England chance

McManaman: Gets England chance

England Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce will be disappointed with anything less than victory at next month's European Championship.

Having guided the team at the three previous tournaments, the former England left-back thinks it can be fourth time lucky in Israel.

A final appearance four years ago was the closest the Young Lions have come to European glory in that time, but Pearce is confident of going all the way this time after today naming his 23-man squad for the tournament.

"We set out two years ago to win the tournament," he told www.thefa.com.

"It is a four-step process; you have to get out of your group in qualification, you have to win the play-off, you have to get out of the group in the finals and then win the tournament.

"We've done two of those, and now we have got a scenario where I think anything less than winning it, I will be disappointed. It always will be.

"We've had three tournaments in the past that we've all learned things from. It is good, I think, to look back two years hence and at where the development of certain players have gone.

"Roll the clock back two years and if somebody had said to me Ryan Bertrand would be a Champions League winner, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling would have gone straight into the full England squad, Kyle Walker would be in it and various other players that have gone onto achieve things, I would have thought, yeah, okay [that's good].

"Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge were in the group two years ago and you hope that in two years' time after this tournament, we are going to have the same number of players that go onto the seniors, having developed a fantastic understanding of tournament football."

Wilfried Zaha, Jordan Henderson and Jack Butland are amongst those in the squad with previous senior experience and hoping to making an impression.

Danny Rose and Tom Ince are included in the 23-strong squad despite being suspended for the opener against Italy on June 5, while two players in the squad have yet to make their Under-21 debut.

Southampton's 17-year-old left-back Luke Shaw is one of those, while Wigan's Callum McManaman has seen his fine form rewarded with a first call-up by the Young Lions.

Fresh from his man-of-the-match display in Wigan's FA Cup triumph at the weekend, the winger is the standout inclusion in Pearce's squad.

"I've made it my business over the last six weeks to have a real good look at Callum," the Under-21 boss, who worked with McManaman at the 2011 Under-20s World Cup in Colombia, said.

"I think he's finding his confidence now, he's been nurtured very well by Wigan.

"He's played so well and the culmination of that was a fantastic game in the final. That will give his self-esteem the world of good.

"We're pleased with his development and that happens with players. He came on the international scene a few years ago at Under-20 level, now he's found form at the right time, just before a major championship.

"I've seen fit to take him, even though he's not played Under-21 football."

The biggest blow to Pearce's hopes of success is the absence of Raheem Sterling.

The winger, 18, has shone for Liverpool this season but a thigh injury put paid to his hopes of going to Israel, with Manchester City's Jack Rodwell also absent.

"Raheem's had a thigh problem that he's been nursing for some time, and he's not played for Liverpool for the last six or seven weeks," Pearce told www.thefa.com.

"It's a real disappointment because his form for the Under-21s of late has been outstanding. But if they're not fit, I can't pick them."

England Under-21 squad:

Goalkeepers: Butland (Stoke), Steele (Middlesbrough), Rudd (Norwich)
Defenders: Caulker (Tottenham), Clyne (Southampton), Dawson (West Brom), Lees (Leeds), Rose (Tottenham), Shaw (Southampton), Smith (Tottenham Hotspur), Wisdom (Liverpool)
Midfielders: Chalobah (Chelsea), Henderson (Liverpool), Ince (Blackpool), Lansbury (Nottingham Forest), Lowe (Blackburn), McEachran (Chelsea), McManaman (Wigan Athletic), Shelvey (Liverpool), Townsend (QPR, loan from Tottenham)
Forwards: Zaha (Manchester United), Marvin Sordell (Bolton), Connor Wickham (Sunderland).


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