Stuart Pearce believes there is a distinct pathway open between the Under-21 and Senior squad.
International Under-21 Friendly
7.45pm, Tuesday 19 August 2008
KC Stadium, Hull City FC
Stuart Pearce had a simple message for his England Under-21 side after their 2-1 friendly victory over Slovenia - repeat that every match and you will make the Senior squad.
The Nottingham Forest legend believes he is helping to create a set-up that will help ease the passage between the Young Lions and the Senior team and is determined nothing will stop his young charges when it comes to making Fabio Capello's squad.
Although Tuesday evening's scoresheet may only suggest a marginal victory, England completely outplayed their opponents at the KC Stadium and a delighted Pearce is confident Under-21 glory will enable his players to one day go all the way.
"It should not be a closed door policy in either direction between us and the seniors," he said.
"I have mentioned it many, many times and I will do that throughout the season - players have to step up and step down and we have to get into that mentality.
"What we are trying to allude to is that players come down here, play well and then they see that the pathway between the Under-21s and the Seniors is very close."
An impressed Pearce believes it makes perfect sense to make players believe they can prosper together - starting in the Under-21s - and that that success can then be transferred to the Senior set-up.
"I have said before that other countries do it and we need to as well," added Pearce.
"Once a group of players know what it is like to win and improve together and get that link and bond, then hopefully they can go on to win together in the Senior squad."
Goals from Micah Richards and James Milner helped England overcome Etien Velikonja's excellent opener on 12 minutes and although Pearce was reluctant to pick out individuals, he could not resist outlining Richards' contribution.
The big Manchester City defender looked as dangerous in attack as he did solid in defence and after his goal kick started the England comeback, there looked like there would only be one winner.
"The thing that has impressed me the most was his attitude," admitted Pearce.
"There is specualtion that players who drop down from the Seniors won't be motivated enough but that is not the case and I thought he played very well.
"I thought when he first broke into the side at Manchester City he was a constant goal threat and he has certainly got it in him.
"We were pleased he got on the score sheet. He has got that capability and maybe he should set himself a target for every year."
Despite the solid England win, Pearce says he will not led his squad get complacent ahead of next month's final European Championship qualifier against Portugal at Wembley next month.
"We still have to get better in certain areas," he said.
"There is still stuff to work on and we are level headed enough torealise that. We will have to improve if we want to win something at theend of the next season."
Joe Lewis (Tom Heaton, 46), Micah Richards (Martin Cranie, 73), Andrew Taylor, Tom Huddlestone (Fabrice Muamba, 61), Michael Mancienne, Nedum Onuoha (David Wheater, 84), Aaron Lennon (Adam Johnson, 73), Mark Noble, Matt Derbyshire, Michael Johnson (Fraizer Campbell, 61), James Milner (c) (Michael Kightly, 46)
Subs not used Craig Gardner, Gabriel Agbonlahor
Coach Stuart Pearce
Matjaz Rozman, Erik Salkic, Tadej Apatic, Rok Elsner (c), Aleksander Rajcevic, Uros Korun, Goran Cvijanovic, Mitja Viler, Tim Matavz, Nejc Pecnik, Etien Velikonja
Substitutes Jan Koprivec, Nik Omladic, Rene Mihelic, Boris Mijatovic, Armin Bacinovic, Roman Bezjak, Vito Plut
Coach Tomaz Kavcic
Referee Abby Toussaint (Lux)
Assistants Francis Crelo and Francois Mangen (Lux)
Fourth Official Michael Oliver (Eng)
Nationwide Man of the Match Micah Richards
Tickets are on sale now for the match against Portugal at Wembley Stadium on Friday 5 September with most seats costing just £10 for adults and £5 for children from the Hotline 0844 826 2010 or via The FA ticketing site where further information can be found including details of group booking discounts.