Stuart Pearce was pleased with the reaction of his new players to their challenge on Tuesday night.
England 2-0 Czech Republic
Under-21 International Friendly
7.45pm, Tuesday 18 November 2008
Bramall Lane, Sheffield United FC
England Under-21 Head Coach Stuart Pearce admitted his delight at the way in which his team despatched of Czech Republic on Tuesday night and then challenged more of his players to try and make the step-up to the Senior squad.
Defenders Michael Mancienne and Micah Richards were both in Pearce’s initial squad for this game but then received the call from Fabio Capello to join the Seniors for their game in Germany on Wednesday joining other former Under-21 players for the trip to Berlin.
And Pearce believes the opportunity is there for anyone to take, should they excel in his Under-21 team.
“To see the likes of Michael Mancienne, Micah Richards, Theo Walcott, Gabby Agbonlahor, Scott Carson and Ashley Young in the Senior squad, having come through with us, is fantastic,” said Pearce, after the 2-0 win at Bramall Lane.
“There is the possibility for people to come through as if from nowhere, like Michael has, but he's been our best player for the last four or so games and been man-of-the-match in every game since he went on loan to Wolverhampton.
“So it shows that if you are putting in a good run of form, you will get looked at. As soon as you get an opportunity, it's then down to those players.
“Michael's earned it. I don't think either myself or Fabio Capello give squad places away lightly. Central defence is probably the most competitive position to hold down in my squad. He's a fantastic boy, very unassuming, willing to learn and every time you put something in front of him, he deals with it.”
Pearce watched his side take an early lead through Fraizer Campbell, who netted his first goal for the Under-21s, before Craig Gardner added a second with a well struck free kick shortly after the re-start.
The game also saw Pearce delve into his pool of players and there were eight debutants involved in the game.
“I thought all of the lads who came in did well,” he added.
“You can just tell when someone is ready to play and when I saw the likes of Jack Cork, Ryan Bertrand, Fabian Delph, I didn’t see any nerves and they all came in and looked comfortable out there.
"It took us 60 or 70 minutes before we got our tails up, but there's a lot of pleasing things there - it's never easy to win international matches.
"It also gives me something else to think about with these younger boys doing well."
Joe Lewis (Frankie Fielding, 31) Martin Cranie (Kyle Naughton, 60) Jamie O'Hara (Ryan Bertrand, 80) Fabrice Muamba (Jack Cork, 60) Richard Stearman, Nedum Onuoha, Aaron Lennon, Craig Gardner (Fabian Delph, 86) Fraizer Campbell (Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, 69) James Vaughan (Adam Lallana, 86) Michael Kightly.
Sub not used: Adam Johnson.
Campbell 10, Gardner 55
Coach Stuart Pearce
Jakub Diviš, Jan Halama, Jakub Heidenreich, Ondřej Mazuch, Michal Švec (c) (Jan Lecjaks, 78), Ondrej Kudela, Tomáš Hořava, Bořek Dočkal (Marcel Gecov, 40) Tomáš Mičola (Martin Zeman, 65) Jan Morávek (Jan Blažek, 65) Tomáš Pekhart (Jakub Řezníček, 46).
Sub not used: Tomáš Vaclík, Radim Řezník, Jan Polák.
Head Coach Jakub Dovalil
Referee Cuneyt Cakir
Assistant Referees Cem Satman and Tarik Ongun
Fourth Official Lee Mason