Capello applauds Pearce decision to drop Walcott

England boss Fabio Capello was on the phone congratulating Stuart Pearce after he dropped Theo Walcott but still sealed a place in the European Under-21 Championship semi-finals.

Walcott was on the bench at Gothenburg's Gamla Ullevi but came on after an hour and set up James Milner's goal in the 2-0 win against the highly-rated Spanish.

Capello then spoke to Pearce to congratulate him on reaching the last four after what proved to be a bold decision on leaving out Walcott.

"He just said congratulations, just watched the game and he's pleased as punch with the result, and obviously I'll feed that back to the players," Pearce said.

"They're the eyes of the man they want on them. Yes, me as their manager, but they want Mr Capello's eyes on them and see that gutsy performance.

"Credit to them and a lot of our players will have done themselves a lot of credit and that's what this tournament is all about."

Pearce admitted Walcott was disappointed when he named the team and got the news that his quiet 45 minutes in the win over Finland was not good enough for him to keep his place.

Adam Johnson was picked ahead of him and Pearce's message was that Walcott would not get special treatment because he is established in Capello's squad.

"I've only ever treated everyone equally," Pearce said. "People get in and out of the team on merit and that has happened this time.

"I didn't speak to him before, the team went on the board and Theo took it like any member of the staff would take it. He was disappointed but when he came on he put a performance on, going forward and helping by tracking back."

England went into the break goalless after Milner had a penalty saved. Walcott came on after 62 minutes and Fraizer Campbell opened the scoring shortly after, with Milner sealing the victory by thumping home Walcott's cross.

Milner received a yellow card that rules him out of the game against Germany next week, although England will be in the semi-finals even if they lose.

"I said before we left that Theo would be treated the same as the other 22 in the squad," Pearce said. "What I do ask for is a reaction if they do get left out.

"You saw what he was about as a man and a player. He reacted the way I thought he would."

Micah Richards was named man of the match but he admitted the award should have gone to Fabrice Muamba for anchoring the midfield.

"That was as good a performance as you'll see," Pearce said. "We wouldn't have won without him."

Richards added: "They found it very hard to break us down because of Fabrice.

"Credit to Theo, when he came on he change the game and set up a goal."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before