Stuart Pearce says his Under-21s are primed and ready for final game in Israel
Israel v England
UEFA European Under-21 Championship
Group A Match
5pm (BST), Wednesday 11 June 2013
Teddy Stadium, Jerusalem
Stuart Pearce says his England Under-21s players are determined to go out of Euro 2013 with a win when they meet Israel in Jerusalem on Tuesday night.
After two defeats so far that have seen them eliminated from the competition, the young Lions are looking for a result to restore some pride and ensure they don’t finish bottom the group.
And Pearce expects his team to deliver a performance after seeing them work hard in training despite their hopes being dashed by Norway in their last match.
“We know our destiny now, we know this is our last game of the tournament, and it’s important we go out with a victory, we certainly don’t want to finish bottom of the group,” Pearce said in his pre-match press conference at the Teddy Stadium on Monday night.
“The players have been very disappointed after the results of the first two games, but I think they are very focused.
“The training has been good and their application to listen to all the messages we have put their way has been fantastic.”
He continued: “They are desperate to put in a performance and we are preparing as we normally do.
“I get the feeling the players are primed and ready. I don’t think any country wants to come home from this tournament having not won a game.”
Although Pearce didn’t reveal his starting eleven, he did confirm that Henri Lansbury will again be missing due to injury and suggested a young side will take to the field against Israel in front of what is expected to be a 30,000-strong crowd in the capital.
With a new Under-21s qualification campaign starting in September he’s keen to give those players who will continue in the set-up a chance to gain valuable international match experience.
“I never look to give my team away, but one thing I can tell you is that I’ll select the team in view of the next campaign,” he said.
“I have to make sure we have ten or eleven players within this group who can run through to the next campaign.
“That also tells you we have a very young squad coming here in the first place. The experience those young boys get in this tournament, even though we’ve not been successful, they’ll take that with them forward.”
Pearce is also expecting a difficult game against the host nation, who earned a 2-2 draw with Norway in the opening fixture of Euro 2013.
“We do our homework on every team we face,” said Pearce. “They are a high-energy team, very compact with two banks of four and two strikers.
“They are pretty rigid in their four-four-two, but I think when they do attack they attack with energy, their full-backs push on and they are very dangerous on the counter-attack.
“They’ll be a fantastic test and I believe there is going to be a full-house here, which in itself is a great advert for Israeli football and the Under-21 tournament in general.”
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