Pearce: Give young stars a break

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Stuart Pearce has hit out at criticism of his England side in the wake of their European Under-21 Championship opener against Spain.

The aftermath of Sunday's 1-1 Group B draw in Denmark did little to silence those who have branded English players technically inferior to their Spanish counterparts.

But England head coach Pearce insisted his young team's battling performance in Herning gave him cause for optimism rather than concern, and said: "We're fantastic at that in our country, at knocking young players, or elevating them ridiculously high."

He added: "I've got no real interest at all in what people speculate and what they write back home. They're only doing it because they've got a vested interest somewhere else."

Pearce reiterated his claim that, despite enjoying almost double the amount of possession as their opponents, Spain did not hurt England.

"As a team, we defended very well," said Pearce, who insisted his side "deserved" their 88th-minute equaliser at the at the MCH Arena.

"I know which team was going to go on and win the game when it went to 1-1."

Pearce, who revealed the watching England senior boss Fabio Capello gave him a few post-match technical pointers, added: "I ask the question: how many other nations would've thrown the towel in? Maybe in the 87th minute when they're losing 1-0 and the opposition are keeping the ball very well.

"We didn't. In fact, we went and got a goal and then, after that, we had two good chances to go and get another goal.

"The game against Spain just enhanced that with me, it buoyed me up more than anything to be honest."

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Stuart Pearce

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