Pearce rues lack of home talent concerns

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The Independent Football

Stuart Pearce has echoed Sir Trevor Brooking's concerns over a lack of young English players at big clubs in the Premier League. The England Under-21 coach has been shaping a team for the 2009 European Championship qualifying campaign, but has only Theo Walcott in his squad from teams in the Champions League.

Sir Trevor, the Football Association's director of football development, believes foreign players have harmed the national team. Pearce admits his scouting is done mainly outside the traditional 'big four'. He said: "The one thing that hit home to me was sitting down and looking at the fixtures and how many players under 21 that were worth me going to watch. The numbers aren't very big. Is it worth me going to see Liverpool? No. There's no one on show. Chelsea? No, one on show. Manchester United?

"Most of the players that we have in the squad come from Manchester City, Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and Newcastle. Those four sides contribute a hell of a lot to the side we can have."

Pearce's squad start their qualifying campaign with matches in Montenegro and Bulgaria over the next week, beginning with the game in Podgorica on Friday. As the full-time coach with wider responsibilities for youth football, Pearce is also aware of addressing the problem of getting more top-level youngsters playing regularly. He said: "It's important that we are aware of the fact that we need to push as many English players as we can. Not just here and now but for the future. I would like to say that there are three players in every team worth going to watch.

"From Steve McClaren's point of view he would like five from every side in an ideal world, but we have to be aware there might be a problem in the future."

Hope for the future lies in the players brought through by Pearce and Peter Taylor before him. Micah Richards, Ashley Young and Scott Carson have graduated from the under-21s recently, the latter two playing in the Under-21 European Championships this summer and reaching the semi-finals.

Pearce added: "There's no point in saying that's acceptable – we've got to say what are we going to do about it? Can we improve the standard of coaching at a younger age?