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England Under-21 coach Pearce in no rush over new contract

Stuart Pearce. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire Stuart Pearce. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Monday, February 4, 2013
4:06 PM

Stuart Pearce expects talks over a new contract as England Under-21 coach to be deferred to the summer.

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But Pearce insists he is more focused on preparing for the European Championship finals in Israel in June.

The former England defender is excited about the potential of Derby midfielder Will Hughes and Southampton full-back Luke Shaw who are included in the squad for tomorrow evening’s friendly with Sweden at Walsall.

When asked about his contract, Pearce said: “The last thing we’ve had was probably it might be deferred to the summer.

“It is not a major priority for myself. The tournament is more important for me.”

Pearce will be leading England into a fourth Euro finals since taking charge six years ago and is excited about the current crop of players.

He said: “We always are excited. Once one group go through to the seniors, all of a sudden another group of youngsters comes through.

“The likes of Will Hughes and Luke Shaw have just come into the group and they excite me as well.

“Will has had a good season. I’m good friends with Nigel Clough so I keep in close contact about how he is doing at Derby.

“We are pleased with his development and have to make sure that we nurture that development.”

Hughes has been linked with several Premier League clubs but Pearce believes he is benefiting from playing regular first team football at Pride Park.

He said: “Derby have given him his chance in the first team. Some people are reticent to give youngsters an opportunity in first teams.

“But credit to Nigel and Derby. They are happy to put players in the first team and the experience comes from playing matches as I found out, not training week in and week out.

“He seems a very level headed young man and that’s all the good for England and Derby.”

Shaw has quickly made his mark with the Saints and their battle for top flight survival.

Pearce said: “I’ve been very impressed with Shaw. It’s a position I played for many years.

“I think he has played very well and is a good prospect.”

Pearce believes it is vital to send the strongest possible squad to a tournament to help youngsters with their development and is pleased to have the backing of senior head coach Roy Hodgson.

He said: “My stance has been the same for the last six years, that every time you go to a major tournament you should go with your best possible available players at that age group.

“It is guided from Roy from above. I will pick the best possible available players to take a tournament on to give the players more experience at international level.

“Roy has made it clear he wants to send a really strong squad to the Under-21s.

“I’m always of the opinion when I look at Spain, France, Germany, how they’ve won things at the younger age groups before they’ve stepped up and conquered the world and Europe.

“We have to do the same. For me it’s fantastic news. We have to make sure that is delivered upon.”

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