Stuart Pearce has urged his players to take any chance they get to impress against Poland on Tuesday.
International Under-21 Friendly
7pm, Tuesday 25 March 2008
Molineux, Wolverhampton Wanderers FC
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England Under-21s Coach Stuart Pearce has urged his players to take any chance they get to impress against Poland on Tuesday night as he looks to give some valuable experience to some of his younger players.
The Three Lions meet Poland at Molineux and are looking to maintain an unbeaten run, which, save for the penalty shoot-out defeat to Holland last June, stretches back to the end of 2005.
But for Pearce, the match is not just about winning, as he looks to assemble a big squad which can carry England to the European Under-21 Championship Finals in Sweden next Summer.
After naming a squad of 20 last week, which excluded a number of his more experienced campaigners, Pearce saw his squad reduced to 18 on Monday after the withdrawal of Ishmael Miller and Michael Johnson, who have returned to their clubs.
"The 18 who remained all trained today and should be fine," said Pearce following their first session at the Wolves training ground.
"For me that's a good manageable number and means that hopefully everyone will be involved in the game."
From the players still in Pearce's squad, only three were involved in last summer's European Championship, which means a fairly new look side will step on to the field. The Coach now hopes the players take this chance they have been given to press their own claims for a place going forward.
"I won't tell the lads the side until Tuesday, but it's fair to say we have plenty of local interest. But no matter what team we put on the pitch, at the moment they have their tails up," he said.
"There's one or two that have a point to prove, they've been patient, sat around the squad this season and we have some who are new to the squad and they'll be trying to impress.
"It will be a big chance for these boys to put on a show, not just for me, but for England and themselves."
He added: "What I want, come 15 months time if we get to the Finals, is a squad of 23 who have all had experience at this level, played games and are putting pressure on each other to get in that starting eleven."
To see the full video of Pearce's press conference, click on the link above.