Big name England under-21 players rested by Stuart Pearce

 

England Under-21 boss Stuart Pearce today rested several of his big-name players as he looked to the future for his first match since last month's stormy win in Serbia.

Tuesday's friendly against Northern Ireland will be see the Young Lions without Raheem Sterling, Steven Caulker and Jonjo Shelvey - who were promoted to the senior squad - while Danny Rose, Jack Butland, Craig Dawson, Henri Lansbury, Nathan Delfouneso and Marvin Sordell were also omitted.

There were maiden call-ups for Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, Chelsea defender Nathaniel Chalobah, Leicester defender Liam Moore, Derby midfielder Will Hughes and Bolton's on-loan Arsenal striker Benik Afobe.

There were also recalls for Nathaniel Clyne and Sammy Ameobi for next week's Under-21 Championship warm-up at Blackpool's Bloomfield Road.

Pearce hopes the match in Blackpool will give him plenty to think about ahead of making a final selection for the championships in Israel, and also for future competitions.

"This will be an opportunity for a number of younger players, and those who have not had much game time, to impress and put themselves in contention for a place on the plane next summer," Pearce told http://www.TheFA.com.

"There are young players within this group who will be able to go again with the Under-21s for the 2015 campaign, so every chance to play for England will give them experience they will no doubt call upon in the future."

The Young Lions did not concede a single goal during the final stages of qualification for Euro 2013, and will be looking to make it a record sixth consecutive victory next week.

Pearce added: "I am proud of how well the team has performed this year to clinch qualification for the finals yet again.

"We are now one game away from a sixth consecutive victory, a feat not achieved at Under-21s level for over 20 years.

"Hopefully a solid performance here tonight will also provide the team with a springboard as we build for Israel."

The fall-out from England Under-21s play-off clash in Serbia continues.

Trouble flared at the match on October 16 after England's Connor Wickham struck in injury time to secure a 1-0 win and passage to next summer's finals courtesy of a 2-0 aggregate success.

Missiles were thrown and things turned ugly as some fans got on to the pitch, while there were clashes involving players and staff from both teams.

The Serbian Football Association (FSS) handed lengthy bans to two of their own players and two officials for their part in the confrontations.

But the trouble also played out against a backdrop of alleged racial abuse from the stands towards England players.

Defender Danny Rose, who made a specific complaint, was sent off after the final whistle for kicking a ball away in anger amid the chaos.

European governing body UEFA launched their own disciplinary proceedings, charging the FA over the behaviour of their players and the FSS with the same and for the alleged racist chanting.

UEFA's control and disciplinary body will convene on November 22 to deal with the case.

The FA are also continuing to communicate with the Balkan nation over reports criminal charges had been laid against Steven Caulker and Tom Lees, plus coach Steve Wigley.

"The FA continues to remain in close contact with the UK Government regarding the continued media reports of Serbian police charging England U21 players and staff," the FA said in a statement last week.

"There remains no formal communication of any charges to the FA or the government.

"However, we understand there has been a verbal communication of the names of the individuals concerned, which we now believe to be England players Steven Caulker and Tom Lees, and coach Steve Wigley.

"The FA would like to reaffirm its support for all of our players and staff and we have spoken with the players' clubs and those named to express this.

"The FA has been taking legal advice in both the UK and Serbia to provide appropriate protection should any charges be brought.

"We welcome the support we are receiving from the UK government."

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