Fox looks to Pearce for help in the hunt for caps

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Daniel Fox has said he could barely have wished for a better mentor than the England Under-21 coach, Stuart Pearce.

Fox, who made his under-21 debut in Tuesday night's goalless draw with Poland, has already followed in the footsteps of the former Coventry City defender Pearce by making the Sky Blues' left-back position his own following his arrival from Walsall in January.

That has led to obvious comparisons being made between the pair, although Fox insists his temperament is very different to that of the man nicknamed "Psycho" during his playing career.

However, he believes he can learn a lot from the former England captain, who earned 78 senior caps.

Fox said yesterday: "He came up to me after the game and said 'well done', but he gave me a bit of a roasting, telling me how to become better. I can only listen because of how well he did in his career. I enjoyed listening to what he had to say and, hopefully, I can put that into my game.

"I remember him at Euro '96 when he scored the penalty and went off his head, but I'm a bit calmer and quieter than him, I think."

The Coventry defender was part of an experimental side in what was a largely forgettable friendly in front of a sell-out Molineux crowd.

Fox's City team-mate Scott Dann, who also signed from Walsall in January, was another player to gain his first cap as Pearce gave his fringe players a chance to gain some experience, with the side's place in the play-offs for next year's Uefa Under-21 Championship finals in Sweden virtually assured.

Much to his delight, the 21-year-old was one of only five who started to play the full 90 minutes, but Fox admitted that England's failure to win took the shine off the occasion.

"I enjoyed it but I think we could have won the game," he added. "We could have killed the game off in the second half, I think we tried to walk it in.

"It was an honour to play with some great players. The training was good and, hopefully, I can do it again some time. I was excited about it, it couldn't come around quick enough for me. I enjoyed every minute of it. I saw [the substitute] Joe Mattock coming on and thought, 'Here we go, I'm coming off now', but he [Pearce] kept me on and I was made up."

The appearance marked the latest chapter in what has been a remarkable few months in which Fox has gone from playing League One football to earning international honours.

"I can remember getting dropped at Leyton Orient away this season [when at Walsall]," he said. "But I think that was the kick up the backside I needed to be honest and now I'm loving every minute of it.

"I know I'm still young and, no disrespect to League One, but I wanted to improve myself and play at a higher level. I'm doing that at the minute and I just want to keep going. The gaffer has said only I can play my way out of the squad and you can't say any fairer than that."

However, his attention now returns to Coventry's efforts to avoid relegation. "My main priority is keeping Coventry in the Championship, this is secondary," Fox added. "As long as we stay up then I can concentrate on next season. I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and, hopefully, be in the next squad."