Pearce waits on Anichebe
Stuart Pearce is hoping to tempt Victor Anichebe to commit to England over Nigeria.
By Peter O'Rourke
Last Updated: 17/08/07 8:31am
England Under 21 boss Stuart Pearce is hoping to tempt Victor Anichebe to commit to England over Nigeria.
Everton striker Anichebe remains undecided over his international allegiance as he qualifies for England and Nigeria.
The 19-year-old scored on the opening day of the Premier League season and would have made Pearce's Under 21 squad for next week's clash against Romania were he not in two minds.
"At the moment I think he is unsure of which way to go between Nigeria and England," said Pearce.
"I spoke to him, registered an interest from my point of view and the ball is in his court.
"I would like him involved in the Under 21s, obviously family pressures and other things are playing (a role) one way or another."
Pearce was keen to draw a line under the Gabriel Agbonlahor controversy after the Aston Villa man was recalled to the squad.
Agbonlahor's England future had been in doubt after he could not be contacted
to confirm his call-up for the European Championship this summer.
Villa boss Martin O'Neill blamed a breakdown in communication for the controversy and now all has been forgotten by Pearce.
"There was never a moment of hesitation in respect to placing him in the squad," Pearce added.
"There has been some press that he might be involved in Scotland but he said to me he wants to solely play for England.
"I told him 'the best way to play for the seniors is to play for the Under 21s, your age at the moment'."
Pearce lost around half of his squad from the European Championship, with a host of youngsters in line for their Under 21 debuts.
Fabrice Muamba, the DR Congo-born midfielder who has skippered the Under 19s, earned a call-up after impressing for Birmingham.
Theo Walcott is the only player from the "big four" clubs in the Premier League, although QPR's Michael Mancienne is on loan from Chelsea.
"When I looked at the matches I needed to see, I looked at Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal and there aren't many players that are English, under 21 and playing in those sides," Pearce noted.
Newcastle defender Steven Taylor is expected to be named as Pearce's captain, providing he does not earn a place in Steve McClaren's senior squad.
"I think on what he did in the summer he will be extremely close," Pearce said.
"If Steve sees fit, with injuries and whatever, he has another couple of days' thinking time on what he might do with Steven, that's his call.
"I'll be disappointed if I lose him from my team but the player's career enhancement is more important."
Meanwhile, Pearce stated he would back McClaren if David Bentley played for the seniors after missing the Under 21 tournament this summer, citing fatigue.
"At the time I was disappointed but that's been put to bed now," Pearce said.
"David has gone beyond the age-group of my squad. Steve will make decisions and whoever he picked will have my full support."