Stuart Pearce takes positives from under-21 defeat
Wednesday 17 November 2010
Stuart Pearce insisted England's 2-0 friendly defeat in Germany was a worthwhile exercise, despite them being without many of the players likely to start next summer's UEFA Under-21 Championship finals.
Last night's match in Wiesbaden was the first for Pearce's youngsters since they qualified for next summer's tournament but, as a warm-up game, it could be argued to have been largely futile.
That is because senior call-ups and injuries left the England Under-21 boss having to hand six players their first starts.
And, by the end of the game, 11 had made either their debuts or full debuts at this level.
But head coach Pearce felt the new faces would ultimately benefit, saying: "A lot of our players made debuts.
"If you asked the (Connor) Wickhams of this world, and the (Josh) McEachrans, that have got their first cap.....
"(Kieran) Trippier had a solid game at right-back.
"You have to take the positives out of it and move on."
It was understandably the more established names who impressed last night in an otherwise disappointing performance, which saw substitute England goalkeeper Jason Steele sent off.
Pearce said: "I thought Ryan Bertrand played well. I thought Danny Rose slogged away well and I thought the spirit when we went down to 10 men was very good.
"I said to the players afterwards that if they show me that spirit then any coach is happy to work with players who show that spirit."
Yesterday's result saw England fail to avenge last year's UEFA Under-21 Championship final defeat to Germany.
It also ended their five-year, 15-game unbeaten away record - outside tournaments - at this level.
Pearce had no complaints with the overall outcome, which saw his depleted side fall 1-0 behind when Scott Loach failed to keep out a speculative effort from Konstantin Rausch.
The game was effectively over in the 59th minute after Steele was sent off on his debut for bringing down Boris Vukcevic just 13 minutes after replacing Loach.
Cenk Tosun converted the penalty past Henri Lansbury, who was forced to play as a makeshift goalkeeper.
Making his full debut, the Arsenal midfielder pulled off some more than competent saves to prevent Germany adding to their score.
Pearce said: "Henri put himself forward and I thought he was outstanding.
"Everything that went to him he handled very well. We might have found another goalkeeper."
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