Pearce prepared for pens
Monday, 15 October, 2012
England Coach says Craig Dawson will remain his number one taker if he plays against Serbia
Stuart Pearce has one eye on penalties in Serbia on Thursday and says Craig Dawson will be his number one taker – should he play in Krusevac.
Leading 1-0 from the first leg in Norwich on Friday, thanks to Dawson’s spot-kick from 12 yards, Pearce is more than happy for the West Brom defender to step forward again if required.
Penalties could potentially be needed to determine who will reach the Finals in Israel next summer.
But the former England left-back, who famously had a penalty saved in a shootout at the 1990 World Cup before scoring twice at Euro 96, has always prepared his sides for the dreaded deciders.
And Dawson, top scorer for the Under-21s with five goals during qualifying, is one of the Young Lions most consistent scorers from the spot, and also bagged one for Team GB at London 2012.
“We’re all ready for penalties as we normally are,” Pearce told TheFA.com on Monday afternoon. “We practice them after every training session.
“If he [Craig] is playing he’ll be our penalty taker. No doubt some people were squirming around when a defender went up to take the penalty on Friday.
“But when you’ve seen Craig Dawson take penalties for the best part of a year and a half, and you’ve got all the stats on the board, the penalty order speaks for itself.”
Pearce also confirmed that he is able to select from all 19 players in his travelling party in Serbia.
“All the players who are here are fully fit and ready to be called upon if needed,” he said.
The Euro 2013 play-off second leg will be screened live on ESPN on Tuesday evening, 5pm kick off (BST).