Squad contribution pleases Pearce
Wednesday, 12 August, 2009
Coach Stuart Pearce pleased with Under-21s work-out in Groningen
After seeing his new-look team draw 0-0 in Holland on Tuesday night, England Under-21s Coach Stuart Pearce was happy with the first get-together of the campaign.
England meet Macedonia and Greece, both away from home, next month in what will be the first games on the Road to Denmark 2011, and with so many fresh faces in his squad Pearce was pleased to have the chance to see them at close quarters.
In addition, a clean sheet also filled him with confidence as his side restricted a lively Dutch side to shots from range.
"For myself, it was a very good learning curve in respect of our players and it was an excellent game to understand a bit more about them. It’s the first time I’ve had a lot of them with me," he told TheFA.com.
"It was a tough game and we knew that when we took Holland away. It was nice to start the campaign with a clean sheet, that’s very important. The Germans, who won the last Championship, based their whole campaign on keeping clean sheets. We did that tonight, the goalkeepers played well too, so I’m pleased.
"Everyone’s contributed and that was important for me, to have a good look at everyone and for all of the boys to have some minutes on the football pitch."
He continued: "Holland didn’t get behind us so much, I think it was important that we got a little bit tighter when they got within that shooting range, but we’ll work on that. We’re looking forward to the chance to work together for a longer period of time next month."
Pearce was able to see all 19 players of his squad play some part of the game, and handed out six debuts including a start for West Ham's Junior Stanislas. Jack Wilshere, Chris Smalling, Freddie Sears, Daniel Sturridge and Andy Carroll all getting time from the bench in the second half.
Now with a ten-day get-together coming up next month, Pearce will be aiming to make the most of the opportunity on the training pitch and build on what he learned from the trip to Groningen.
"All the boys contributed, there's a lot we can work on, there’s no doubt about that, but I think the ten day get-together in a month’s time will be really important for them.
"The attitude was excellent. Holland caused us a few problems, the way they played with the inter-change of personnel and the team shape was very good. I feel as though with a three or four days on the training pitch we’ll be able to eradicate some of the problems we had today. It’ll stand us in good stead in a month’s time, that’s for sure."
He added: "It was vital that we had this friendly before we go into the qualifiers. And it was ideal for us to play here with the seniors playing in Amsterdam tomorrow night. We’re happy with the workout we’ve had tonight.
"We've not picked up any injuries tonight and we wanted to send the players back to their clubs and look after one or two who we thought might start matches this weekend, so we feel as though we’ve done that and we’re very pleased with how things have gone."
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