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Europe, News, Under 21s

OPINION: Pearce’s England U21 Squad Provides Optimism But Holds Some Concerning Leaks

Luke Shaw will be confident of staking a regular place in Pearce's squad..

Luke Shaw will be confident of staking a regular place in Pearce’s squad..

The England Under 21 squad should provide optimism and although I agree it brings that, I think we’ve got a mixed bunch to choose from for the upcoming European Championship in Israel.

Pearce has named 28 men that will face Romania and Austria in a bid for their finals place, but face competition from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere, who Pearce is heavily rumored to want back in his Under 21 squad for the summer competition.

I’ve quickly assessed Pearce’s squad position by position to take on Romania and Austria. Don’t expect a stat-filled assessment with raving reviews, but I’ve touched on a few key points about Pearce’s latest squad and their chances ahead of Israel later this summer.

Starting at the back, I don’t see why he’s named four goalkeepers. I can understand three but I think he’s just taken this over the top. Whether we’ll see all four in action throughout those two friendlies is an issue in itself but the selection of all of them mystifies me in the sense that Jack Butland is the obvious number 1. If he gets injured Jason Steele and Ben Amos would seemingly fight it out for the role, but unfortunately I can’t see Declan Rudd having anything to do with this tournament. He’s wasted a potential experiment further up the field in my eyes.

At the back I think we’ve got a range of players that will provide interesting competition for each other  I am confident that Steven Caulker and Danny Rose can go on to make their mark on the England senior side as well as young Luke Shaw, who could make his first ever Under 21 appearance if he is to play in either of the games. Adam Smith has been very bright recently and deservedly earns his place in a side with a lot of defensive competition. Andre Wisdom cannot be ignored, neither can Jack Robinson, Ryan Bennett, or Nathaniel Clyne who have all played Premier League football. Craig Dawson and Tom Lees don’t excite me as much as they do others but I’d be interested to see where Pearce thinks they fit into the system.

Across midfield I think we have a wealth of options that can potentially fire us to glory in Israel. The rotational options Pearce has at his disposal is something other managers can view in envy. Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling and Jonjo Shelvey, all of Liverpool, are Premier League regulars but I think the key man is going to be Nat Chalobah. He’s been superb since joining Watford on loan from Chelsea and will undoubtedly be a key part of England senior squads to come. Henri Lansbury hasn’t impressed me recently as much as he has done in the past, but nevertheless he is still developing and can hopefully show some of his previous moments of brilliance come the summer months. A mention should be had for Tom Carroll, who deserves his chance but will be wary that he has a wealth of competition if he is going to stake a proper claim for his place in the side.

Upfront I’m not too certain about our striking prowess. Marvin Sordell, Nathan Delfouneso and Connor Wickham are all decent strikers, but none of them are going to be the next Alan Shearer or Michael Owen. We need a natural goalscorer and unfortunately these players don’t produce often enough on the big stage to prove themselves as potentially top strikers. Wilfried Zaha and Tom Ince are very exciting, obvious albeit, but exciting inclusions, but play more as wingers. I struggle to see where a regular dosage of goals is going to come from.

Do you agree?

Full Squad (from thefa.com)

Goalkeepers Club DOB Caps Goals
Ben Amos Manchester United 10.04.90 3 0
Jack Butland Birmingham City (on loan from Stoke City) 10.03.93 8 0
Declan Rudd Preston North End (on loan from Norwich City) 06.01.91 1 0
Jason Steele Middlesbrough 18.08.90 4 0
Defenders
Ryan Bennett Norwich City 06.03.90 2 0
Steven Caulker Tottenham Hotspur 29.12.91 8 2
Nathaniel Clyne Southampton 05.04.91 4 0
Craig Dawson Bolton (on loan from West Brom) 06.05.90 11 5
Tom Lees Leeds United 18.11.90 4 0
Jack Robinson Wolverhampton Wanderers (on loan from Liverpool ) 01.09.93 2 0
Danny Rose Sunderland (on loan from Tottenham Hotspur) 02.07.90 25 3
Luke Shaw Southampton 12.07.95 0 0
Adam Smith Millwall (on loan from Tottenham Hotspur) 29.04.91 8 0
Andre Wisdom Liverpool 09.05.93 3 0
Midfielders
Tom Carroll Tottenham Hotspur 28.05.92 0 0
Nat Chalobah Watford (on loan from Chelsea) 12.12.94 2 0
Jordan Henderson Liverpool 17.06.90 22 4
Henri Lansbury Nottingham Forest 12.10.90 15 5
Jason Lowe Blackburn Rovers 02.09.91 7 0
Josh McEachran Middlesbrough (on loan from Chelsea) 01.03.93 10 0
Jonjo Shelvey Liverpool 27.02.92 7 2
Raheem Sterling Liverpool 08.12.94 2 0
Andros Townsend Queens Park Rangers (on loan from Tottenham) 16.07.91 2 0
Forwards
Nathan Delfouneso Blackpool (on loan from Aston Villa) 02.02.91 14 3
Tom Ince Blackpool 30.01.92 6 2
Marvin Sordell Bolton Wanderers 17.02.91 10 2
Connor Wickham Sheffield Wednesday (on loan from Sunderland) 31.03.93 11 4
Wilfried Zaha Crystal Palace (on loan from Manchester United) 10.11.92 6 0
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About Tom Bennett

I'm a 21-year-old Multimedia Journalism student at Bournemouth University aspiring to be one of Britain's top sports journalists. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for contact and further information.

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