Pearce refusing to take risks
England U21 boss Stuart Pearce has named his squad for the European Championship play-off against Wales
Last Updated: 01/10/08 6:22pm
England Under 21 manager Stuart Pearce is refusing to take risks for the two-legged Uefa European Championship play-off against Wales and has called senior internationals into his squad.
Pearce has selected his 23-man party as he plots the downfall of Wales, with the winners booking a place in next summer's finals in Sweden.
England travel to Cardiff for the first leg on 10th October and then welcome Wales to Villa Park four days later.
Pearce's strong squad includes senior internationals Micah Richards and Aaron Lennon, while Premier League stars Gabriel Agbonlahor, David Wheater, James Milner and Mark Noble have also been named.
Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana has been called up for the first time, while Middlesbrough defender Wheater returns from suspension.
And Pearce has revealed that heheld discussions with senior manager Fabio Capello prior to naming his strongest possible squad.
"Probably one or two of these would not be out of place in the seniors," Pearce - who has not seen his side lose since a penalty shoot-out defeat to Holland in the same competition in 2007 - told Sky Sports News.
"Fabio is aware of how important these two games are to the U21s and the importance of supplying me with the strongest squad possible.
"We really want to field a side that could be as strong as possible. This is the reason why a lot of these players are here."
Pearce also said that he asked Capello, with tongue in cheek, if senior side hat-trick hero Theo Walcott would be available for selection after the Arsenal forward destroyed Croatia in a World Cup qualifier at the beginning of September.
"He (Capello) didn't really answer my question," added Pearce. "He just burst out laughing.
"Bear in mind that I asked him in the dressing room in Croatia. I thought strike while the iron is hot."
England U21 squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Tom Heaton (Manchester Utd), Joe Lewis (Peterborough)
Defenders: Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea), Martin Cranie (Portsmouth), Craig Gardner (Aston Villa), Michael Mancienne (Chelsea), Micah Richards (Manchester City), Steven Taylor (Newcastle), David Wheater (Middlesbrough)
Midfielders: Lee Cattermole (Wigan), Tom Huddlestone (Tottenham), Adam Johnson (Middlesbrough), Adam Lallana (Southampton), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham), James Milner (Aston Villa), Fabrice Muamba (Bolton), Mark Noble (West Ham), Jamie O'Hara (Tottenham)
Strikers: Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa), Fraizer Campbell (Manchester United), Matt Derbyshire (Blackburn), Sylvan Ebanks-Blake (Wolves)