Pearce: Drop won't stop McCarthy

Stuart Pearce does not think Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthy needs to move to retain an England spot.

Last Updated: 22/05/13 at 18:34 Post Comment

Alex McCarthy: England chance

Alex McCarthy: England chance

Stuart Pearce does not think Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthy will have to move to a Premier League team this summer to retain his place in the England squad.

McCarthy will meet up with the England team for the first time on Sunday after being the surprise inclusion in Roy Hodgson's squad for the upcoming friendlies against Republic of Ireland and Brazil.

The call-up was the latest event in a remarkable rise for the 23-year-old, who just five years ago was playing non-league football with Team Bath.

McCarthy was not even first choice with Reading at the start of the season and he ended the campaign with just 13 top-flight appearances to his name.

Reading's relegation to the npower Championship could have lessened his chances of a regular place in the Three Lions squad, but Hodgson has called up Football League players before - like Crystal Palace man Wilfried Zaha - and Pearce thinks playing in the second tier should be no barrier.

"I just think he needs to be playing. If he is playing Roy will look at him," the England Under-21 coach said.

"You hear some people talking about how players from fashionable clubs only get the opportunity (at international level), but he has proven that idea wrong. If you are playing well enough you will get the opportunity no matter where you are.

"He is in the England squad now so that tells you something straight away - he wouldn't be in the England squad if Roy didn't trust him."

Given his inexperience, many were surprised to see McCarthy's name among the 22-man party announced by Hodgson last week.

But the call-up came as no shock to Pearce, who has tracked the youngster's progress over the last few years as part of his role as Under-21 coach and manager of the British Olympic team for London 2012.

"He has been around the Under-21 squad in the past and he was very unfortunate to miss out on the Olympic squad," said Pearce, who was speaking after the British Army v FA Legends fund-raiser last week.

"We could only take two goalkeepers in the Olympic squad. If we had lost one Alex would have been in.

"He has played really well. I came to watch him recently at Reading and he was absolutely outstanding.

"He has a real composure about him. He is a sensible young man. He is very mature and he takes everything in his stride and his goalkeeping portrays that on the pitch."

Joe Hart appears to have a firm grip on the number one jersey for next year's World Cup - should England qualify - but McCarthy has a good chance of being one of Hodgson's back-up stoppers for the tournament.

McCarthy will compete with the likes of Ben Foster, Scott Carson, Fraser Forster and Robert Green for the other two positions available and Pearce thinks the Reading goalkeeper will need little motivation to prove his worth in the coming year.

"It's a fantastic incentive for every young English player with a World Cup in Brazil coming up," the former England left-back said.


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