Pearce calls on strong squad to prove credentials

England Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce believes the squad for tonight's friendly international against Slovenia is one of the strongest he has ever had.

Several players who have featured in Fabio Capello's senior set-up, and can count themselves unlucky not to be in the Italian's squad for tomorrow's friendly against the Czech Republic, are available to Pearce. The Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor, who scored a hat-trick against Manchester City at the weekend, is set to be involved, alongside Premier League regulars David Wheater, Micah Richards and Tom Huddlestone.

Pearce has challenged the players to produce a performance at the KC Stadium in Hull that befits their ability – and give a further reminder to Capello of their talents.

"It's a very strong squad on paper and now we need to deliver a performance which indicates that strength," Pearce said. "Right across the board we have a strong squad and lots of players with experience of playing regularly in the Premier League with their clubs. You can go through the squad and there are not too many names that people might think, 'Where is he playing his club football?'"

Pearce is definitely without the Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor, who picked up an ankle injury in the 1-1 draw at Manchester United. However, he confirmed that United striker Fraizer Campbell, who spent a large part of last season at Hull City, is fit to play on the ground where he enjoyed plenty of success. Campbell was withdrawn by manager Sir Alex Ferguson in the second half at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Pearce also stressed that the likes of Agbonlahor and Richards need to be able to respond positively if they are asked to report for under-21 duty instead of the senior side.

"I think some of the players in the under-21 squad should be disappointed if they don't make the senior squad," he added. "But as soon as the squad is picked, and if you're in the under-21 side, you should be ready to roll your sleeves up and think, 'I must do well in this squad.'

"There are five or six boys who arguably could be in the senior squad but for them to sit on the bench against the Czech Republic for the senior squad is probably a bit counter-productive. They need to be playing football at their age and if they are eligible for the under-21 category they should be here. They'll get experience from being on the pitch, not in the stands."

Agbonlahor said for his part: "It is obviously disappointing not to be selected and you want to be playing for your country. But if Mr Capello doesn't put you in the squad then we have to go out, like on Sunday, and prove him wrong. That is all you can do, really. All we can do is play good football for our clubs. It is out of our hands whether or not we are selected.

"Mr Capello does come to Villa quite a lot and I am not going to give up. We have just got to keep doing the business for our club. Then if he doesn't want to pick us, he doesn't want to pick us."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
education
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London