Richard relishing Championship chance
Saturday, 13 June, 2009
Richard Stearman says the Euro experience will help his development
Richard Stearman is relishing his time with the England Under-21s after nearly missing out on the opportunity to be part of the Euro 2009 and hopes the experience can help him ahead of his first season in the Premier League.
The Wolves defender, who played 37 times in the League to help Mick McCarthy’s side win the Championship, was in Stuart Pearce’s 40-man provisional squad list for the Finals in Sweden.
However, he was not in the 23-man party narrowed down by Pearce, until an injury to captain Steven Taylor opened the door to the 22-year-old.
England take on Finland in the opening game of the Championship on Monday, and the ex-Leicester City man hopes that he and his team can take more than just a trophy away from Sweden.
“I was told I was in the 40 and it was a case of waiting to see if I would make the 23, which I didn’t,” explained Stearman. “But I saw Steven Taylor pull out with injury, so I knew I had a shout of coming in late. Stuart rang to ask if I was available and I was delighted when he called.
“After winning the Championship at Wolves to be in this tournament is a perfect end to the season, and could get even better.
“There’s going to be some top, top players out here, the cream of the crop in Europe, so it should stand me in good stead for next season in the Premier League.
“A few of the boys were here two years ago, and obviously Wiggs (Steve Wigley) and the Gaffer talk about it. We’ve seen a few bits on Sky in the build up, too.”
He added: “I’m sure it’s made them stronger as people and as professionals. We have a few young lads in this squad who will be available for the next one, so I suppose what they experience out here will help them for the next tournament as well.”
And as well as the chance to play in a major tournament with the Three Lions, Stearman would love to take it further with England. And with the Premier League on the horizon for next season, too, if he can perform well on all fronts, he believes that a chance to step up to the Senior squad could be a possibility.
But first and foremost for England, and Stearman - who made his third Under-21 appearance in the 7-0 win over Azerbaijan - the European Championship trophy is the one they all want.
“It’s obvious to me and the other defenders, or whatever position you play, we’ve had players go through to the main set-up and it’s good to see. It shows that if you work hard and perform you’ve got a chance. You have to set goals for yourself as high as you can.
“We have the belief here this summer. There’s got to be otherwise there is no point being here. We want to win things, as does every other team here.
“We’ve got to look to get out of our group first and we’ll look ahead then.”
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