Pearce hails keeper Loach
Stuart Pearce saluted Scott Loach after his heroics helped England Under-21s secure a draw in Greece.
Last Updated: 08/09/09 9:17pm
Stuart Pearce saluted goalkeeper Scott Loach after his heroics helped England Under-21s secure a 1-1 draw in Greece.
The Watford shot-stopper produced a string of impressive saves to earn a point for his side in their European Championship Group 9 qualifier.
Sotiris Ninis' deflected equaliser five minutes before half-time cancelled out Daniel Sturridge's fifth-minute opener with Loach otherwise keeping a lively home attack at bay in wet conditions at the Asteras Tripolis Stadium.
"I thought our goalkeeper Scott Loach was outstanding," said Pearce afterwards. "For me, he was by far the man of the match.
"I chose him rather than our two other goalkeepers because he's seen plenty of action from his loan spells and he is now a regular with his club so is more experienced.
"I thought Jack Wilshere was also outstanding."
England started at a frenetic pace with 17-year-old Arsenal youngster Wilshere impressive in his first start.
But the visitors faded as the half drew on with mistakes creeping in to the games of Pearce's new-look side and in the end the visitors had Loach to thank as they were fortunate to hang on for a draw.
"The draw was a fair result I think as while we had the best chances in the first half I thought Greece then had the best opportunities in the second 45 minutes," Pearce said.
"It concerns me that most Greek chances came from defensive errors on our part but I reckon that these errors are easier to correct than technical errors, so I'm not too disappointed.
"Greece are a very organised team and they gave us a very hard game."