Krystian Pearce wants to prove he can play at this level when England meet Iceland on Friday night.
UEFA Qualifying Tournament
7.45pm, Friday 12 October 2007
Doncaster Rovers FC, Keepmoat Stadium
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Krystian Pearce has enjoyed a golden 12 months since he first joined up with the England team.
Having made his debut against Portugal last October, Pearce helped England reach the European Championship Final and the last eight of the U17 World Cup in Korea within months of first pulling on the Three Lions.
He was arguably England’s best player at the World Cup and those performances caught the eye of U19 Head Coach Brian Eastick who selected him for the UEFA Qualifying Tournament, despite Pearce being a year young for that age group.
"I was surprised as I did not even think about getting called up," said the Birmingham City centre-half.
"It’s a big step but I’m pleased to make another step-up in my career though. I have been involved with England for a year and it could not have gone any better."
The gentle giant, dubbed ‘Chief’ by his U17 team-mates, is a classic modern day centre-half. Powerful in the tackle and peerless in the air, he’s comfortable with the ball at his feet too as anyone who saw his goal against Syria at the World Cup would testify.
After deftly controlling the ball from a corner, Pearce fooled the Syrian keeper with an audacious dummy before slotting home. Not bad for a defender.
"It was a big achievement for me to score in the World Cup," he said. "But now I want to prove to everyone I can play at this level, including myself. I’m confident I can, I have always backed my ability. I just want to show everyone else what I can do."
England play against Iceland on Friday evening at Doncaster Rovers’ impressive Keepmoat Stadium before taking on Romania and Belgium as they bid to reach the Elite Round – the final stage of qualifying before the European Championships.
Pearce was part of a successful qualification last season, when he helped the U17s reach the European Championships in Belgium. The Young Lions hit form in that tournament, beating Holland and France en route to the Final where they eventually lost to Spain.
"I lost in the Final with the U17s last season," recalled Pearce. "Hopefully we can win it this time. My aim is to win something with England."