Stuart Pearce has called Wolves defender Richard Stearman into his Under-21s squad.
England v Portugal
UEFA European U21 Championship Group 3 Qualifier
7.45pm, Friday 5 September 2008
Stuart Pearce has called Wolves defender Richard Stearman into his Under-21s squad after seeing three of his original line-up pull out due to injury.
21-year-old former Leicester City man Stearman, who was on the bench for both Euro 2009 Group Three Qualifiers last November, at home to Bulgaria and away to Portugal, comes into the void left by Craig Gardner, Michael Johnson and Micah Richards.
Manchester City defender Richards didn't meet up with The Three Lions on Monday and has now been ruled out of Friday night's game against the Portuguese at Wembley after he was injured in his club's 3-0 win over Sunderland at the weekend.
His club-mate Johnson, and Aston Villa's Craig Gardner were with the squad as they began their preparations for the crunch final group game, but returned home on Tuesday to recover.
Pearce's side need only a draw from the match on Friday to qualify for the play-offs for next summer's Finals in Sweden, but Pearce believes a win will seriously dent Portugal's prospects.
"We know that if we beat Portugal, it could be enough to knock them out of the tournament in the qualifiers," Pearce told TheFA.com. "They are one of the top six sides in Europe, so we could do ourselves a very big favour."
He added: " This is the most important game we’ve had for a year and a half and it’s where all our hard work in the play-offs comes to fruition.
"It could make or break our season and we’re all aware of it but we are all ready for the challenge."
Click here for the latest Under-21s squad
TICKET DETAILS v PORTUGAL
Tickets are priced £10 (adults) and £5 (children) for Level 1 and £15 (no concessions) on Level 2.
Tickets are on sale now from the Hotline 0844 826 2010 or via www.thefa.com/Tickets where further information can be found including details of group booking discounts.