Football

Young Lions boss hails Wilshere impact

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England Under-21 boss Stuart Pearce praised Jack Wilshere's maturity after the Arsenal midfielder came off the bench to help fire the Young Lions into the European Championship play-offs with a 3-0 win over Lithuania Under-21s.

Despite not making the starting XI at Colchester's Weston Homes Community Stadium, Wilshere was introduced for the second half in a move which galvanised England.

He set up Danny Welbeck, on loan at Sunderland from Manchester United, for the opening goal just after the hour, with Aston Villa midfielder Marc Albrighton sweeping home a second before Welbeck netted a third in stoppage time.

"Jack gave us a lift when he came on and had an impact on the game," said Pearce.

Wilshere had been an unused substitute for the 1-0 win in Portugal on Friday, with Pearce admitting the 18-year-old had "taken his eye off the ball" following his arrest and subsequent bail in the wake of a late-night fracas in Kensington.

"For a young man, who in his own mind is expecting to be playing on Friday and then on the back of that was not in the starting line-up again, he has handled that extremely well," added Pearce.

"It was probably only Welbeck's performance in training which kept Jack out of the team, that coupled with the fact that Jack did get caught up with the headlines in the papers.

"He will readily admit that and it was important he put that to bed."

Pearce continued: "In some ways there is no situation. He is a quite a level-headed kid.

"It is difficult for young men as they get thrust in the limelight and they are bombarded with information about who they should be, Eusebio or whoever. Any form of adversity they are left high and dry.

"Credit to him. The only thing that matters is his performance when he steps over that line."

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Topics:
Arsenal
Internationals
Football
Jack Wilshere

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