Pearce spot on

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Football News

England Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce has told his penalty takers they cannot opt out of the shoot-out if their European Championship semi-final against Sweden goes the distance.

Pearce lost on spot-kicks twice as a player and two years ago as a coach, so his youngsters have been practising after each training session, while the tournament hosts are believed to have a more laid-back approach.

"I will have a list of one to 23 penalty takers," he said. "I know the order which we take penalties. The only thing in doubt is the 11 on the pitch at that stage."

Staff have collated data and each member of Pearce's squad has a ranking which will determine their position in the queue - with no player allowed to drop down the order.

He added: "We have analysed the direction in which players take penalties, which is the most successful way for each of our players, the success rate of those players, and obviously the goalkeeper's technique in saving penalties.

"We have spent two years working on those lessons. From years gone by the one thing that comes out is that when a manager walked out to the centre circle they had no idea who his best penalty takers were. He would ask who fancies it. That is not exactly a precise science, is it?"

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Stuart Pearce

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