Pearce: England must be spot on

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England Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce has called on his team to make up for the heartbreak of crashing out on penalties at the European Championships two years ago by going one better this time around.

England were knocked out by Holland in the semi-finals, even though they led with a minute left in normal time. Only four players - Joe Hart, Nedum Onuoha, James Milner and Mark Noble - from that marathon 13-12 shoot-out defeat are in the squad for the tournament in Sweden, but Pearce is confident the others understand how much it hurt.

"It's made us stronger, definitely," he said. "Most of the staff that went two years ago are the same staff again. We've got a few players in this squad who were there, but I think the players who have joined the camp have picked up very quickly over this two-year period what we're trying to achieve and to build from two years ago."

He added: "Even the new boys have picked things up very quickly and that's credit to them. I've been to three semi-finals in four tournaments so I'd like to go one further and go and win a trophy."

Captain Steven Taylor, an instrumental figure in the 2007 championship, is not part of the squad because of an Achilles injury and Pearce added: "Steven is a big loss. He was absolutely crestfallen not to be involved.

"He's been a big part of the team for three years and I'd like to win the trophy for him as much as anything."

Pearce acknowledged that a number of players have the opportunity to showcase their talent in Sweden, as Taylor did two years ago.

"I think there'll be one or two players who'll enhance their reputations this summer," he said. "Danny Rose is one who's just joined us, James Tomkins will, Jack Rodwell is another.

"There's great young talent and if they get their opportunity they'll take it. This time two years ago, Ashley Young just prior to the tournament had got a big-money move to Aston Villa.

"At the time I wasn't sure whether it was a little bit too much but having worked with him two years ago in this tournament, the first thing I did was ring Martin O'Neill and say, 'You've got an absolute bargain on your hands with this kid'."

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Joe Hart
Steven Taylor
James Milner
Danny Rose
Premier League
James Tomkins
Mark Noble
Ashley Young
Stuart Pearce
Nedum Onuoha
Aston Villa
Jack Rodwell

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