December 12 2013 Latest news:
Friday, October 12, 2012
Stuart Pearce wishes his England Under-21 side could play their European Championship play-off second leg at Carrow Road – as well as their first.
The Young Lions’ 100pc record at the home of the Canaries continued with their 1-0 win over Serbia on Friday night, but with the second leg in Krusevac on Tuesday evening, the demands promise to be a bit greater.
For that reason, Pearce felt it a shame England were not heading there with a lead of more than one goal that their possession and chances arguably merited – although there are still plenty of positives to take to Serbia according to the England boss.
“Carrow Road is very kind to us – as I say, we’ll have to come back again; in an ideal world I’d like to come back again on Tuesday night, but that won’t be the case,” smiled Pearce.
“I think you realise and I realise we created enough opportunities to be more than one goal in front in this tie. I’m pleased to have kept a clean sheet and to have won the tie, that’s for sure – but I’m a little bit disappointed we haven’t maybe been a touch more clinical in front of goal.
“But tonight has demonstrated to me that we can create chances away from home. We might have to take them and score on the road to go through in the tie, but Serbia have got to come out and play against us and it’s all to play for, as we thought it would be.”
Pearce admitted he will have to wait and see whether Jack Rodwell’s tight hamstring will keep him out of the trip to Serbia – but was more than happy with his half-time replacement, Blackburn’s Jason Lowe, as well as goalscorer Craig Dawson.
“Lowey does well for us – both him and Dawson, we’ve got some really solid citizens in this squad and they give us a real cornerstone to go and play from,” added Pearce.
“The first time I came across Lowey was a couple of years ago in Colombia with the Under-20s and you can build your house around the Loweys of this world. I thought he did really well when he came on.
“As for Craig, he’s not doing bad to be fair. He’s a real threat from set plays and his penalty-taking is pretty good – as you can imagine, we practice a fair bit and statistically he’s top of the pile, and that one may put him even further up the pile.
“So credit to him but I think he’s deserved that on his general play and how well he’s done for us during this campaign so far.
“He’s a good penalty taker, a solid character and it’s been difficult for him. He’s not played a great deal of club football and he’s been on the bench at West Brom for certainly all of this season and long parts of last season. So every time he comes here and gets 90 minutes for his development is ideal.”
Pearce also passed on comfort to highly rated Blackpool forward Tom Ince, who showed exactly why he is being courted by so many Premier League clubs – if also, at times, his inexperience.
“Tom is disappointed he’s not been able to put one or two of his chances away, but if I went to watch Blackpool on a regular basis and he missed chances I’d be a little bit concerned – but he doesn’t; he slots them away,” said Pearce.
“So with Tom it’s just a case of slotting his first one away and I think a few more international goals will follow. He’s disappointed, but his movement is that clever, we’ve asked him to play in a position that’s slightly new to him. We felt with what we saw in training, playing in that hole and with his movement and clever runs and his ability to handle the ball, it would pay dividends – and all bar the finish I think it did tonight.”
Regarding his latest visit to Carrow Road, Pearce added: “Everything we ask for here, from the hotel to the training facility, to the club selling so many tickets; it’s incredible and they’ve been very kind to us here. It’s a fantastic part of the world to bring the Under-21s.”
FA Youth Cup holders Norwich City produced a devastating late goal burst to sink Preston’s Under-18s 6-1 in Wednesday’s third round tie at Deepdale.