Pearce Faces Selection Headache
England Under-21 boss Stuart Pearce faces several tough decisions as he picks his side to face Sweden in the semi-final of the European Under-21 Championship.
England qualified for the semi-finals with a match to spare, giving Pearce the opportunity to heavily rotate his squad for their final group game. He made ten changes in total and a number of the replacements impressed, including Everton youngster Jack Rodwell, who scored the equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Germany.
Pearce will now have to decide if anybody did well enough to keep their place against hosts Sweden. Central defender Rodwell told BBC Sport that he’s hopeful of playing a part. He said: “You just have to take your chance and hopefully I did that and I’m in the manager’s thoughts”.
Elsewhere, striker Frazier Campbell could be in line to start, after he came off the bench to score England’s opener in their victory over Spain. Gabby Agbonlahor, who started the first two games is a doubt with a calf problem and could be the man to miss out.
One player almost certain to start is Arsenal stalwart Theo Walcott. The winger has had an up and down tournament and was dropped after England struggled to victory in their opener with Finland. However he came off the bench to great effect against Spain and says he has proved a point: “I wasn’t too happy because obviously I came here to play,” Walcott said.
“But I let my feet do the talking. Everyone wants to win the competition, you don’t want to be second – you want to go on holiday after as a winner.”
England are tournament favourites and will be expected to see off the hosts in Friday’s semi-final. Jack Rodwell says confidence is high: “We’re definitely confident going into the semis, we go in to play our own game and hopefully we’ll get through it.”