Football

Under-21s well practised for penalties

Under-21s well practised for penalties (©PAphotos)
Under-21s well practised for penalties (©PAphotos).

Stuart Pearce has passed on his experience of semi-final and penalty shoot-out misery to England's youngsters as they prepare for a European Under-21s Championship clash against hosts Sweden.

Pearce missed his spot-kick at Italia 90 and redeemed himself at Euro 96 but lost on both occasions; then two years ago he reached the last four as a coach before his under-21s went out on penalties to Holland.

"I've gone out on penalties at three of the four major tournaments I've been to," said Pearce. "For me not to make my team fully aware of the implications of a penalty shoot-out would be folly. We've practised for two years."

He added: "After this tournament, the next squad will be practising penalties - and all the information we've collated will stay with us. We like to think we do things thoroughly."

Pearce has a full squad to choose from after resting his first-choice players against Germany.

Gabriel Agbonlahor came off with calf problems during the victory over Spain but is fit and available for selection, while James Milner returns from suspension.

Theo Walcott has not played more than a half in each match so far. But Pearce is refusing to treat him differently to others in squad, despite the Arsenal winger establishing himself in Fabio Capello's seniors.

"Theo is a very professional man," said Pearce. "So am I. I have to cater for all 23 players in this squad, which I've done.

"They know exactly where they stand with me, and there is an even playing field when there is an opportunity to get in or out of the team.

"I have to work with Theo, I hope, for the next 15 years."

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Topics:
Arsenal
Gabriel Agbonlahor
Football
James Milner
Championship
Premier League
Stuart Pearce
Theo Walcott

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