Football

Rodwell hits right tone for Pearce

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England Under-21s coach Stuart Pearce described Jack Rodwell as showing maturity beyond his years during Monday night's 1-1 draw against Germany in Halmstad.

Rodwell's header ensured Pearce's youngsters go into their European Championship semi-final on Friday as Group B winners, and they will probably play Sweden or Serbia in the last four.

"He (Rodwell) was beyond his years," said Pearce. "I told him three weeks ago I need to hear his voice more - and I have heard him more and more."

He added: "Performances like that will come from it. He's quiet but strong mentally. Every day he has flourished more and more. He's a big bonus, but I expect that from him."

Pearce believes resting almost his entire team against Germany will make the difference later this week.

England were knocked out at the last-four stage two years ago but would have been depleted through injuries and suspension if they made it to the final. This time around, they still have an almost fully-fit squad.

Gabriel Agbonlahor's calf problem is the only concern for Friday's match in Gothenburg.

"Two years ago Holland and Serbia both got to the final after resting players in their third group game," Pearce recalls.

"So I think it is helpful.

"It saves your bookings and suspensions. If we'd got to the final two years ago we would have been on our knees. This time we go into a semi-final, we hope, with 23 fit players."

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Topics:
Gabriel Agbonlahor
Football
Championship
Stuart Pearce
Jack Rodwell

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