England kids held in Holland
Pearce's youngsters forced to settle for friendly stalemate
By Ben Collins. Last Updated: 11/08/09 9:32pm
Pearce: Oversaw stalemate
England's Under 21s were forced to settle for a goalless draw with Holland in Tuesday's friendly in Groningen.
There was expected to be a host of Premier League scouts monitoring Newcastle's Dutch goalkeeper Tim Krul after an impressive substitute appearance against West Brom last Saturday.
And he and English counterparts Scott Loach and Frank Fielding caught the eye with a string of saves, with each side guilty of poor finishing.
England boss Stuart Pearce handed a first Under 21 start to West Ham forward Junior Stanislas while Arsenal starlet Jack Wilshere made his Under 21 bow from the bench, but the 17-year-old had little opportunity to shine in a 30-minute run-out.
The introduction of Wilshere was one of eight changes by Pearce as he looks to replace those who graduated from the squad that reached the European Championship final this summer.
England were restricted to long-range efforts in the first half, but neither Jack Rodwell nor Michael Mancienne could do much to worry Krul in the Dutch goal.
England skipper Micah Richards had the best chances of the first half but the Manchester City defender headed over and then had a low shot saved by Krul.
The Dutch, meanwhile, were creating plenty of chances, with another Arsenal youngster, Nacer Barazite, at the centre of most things they did.
However, Watford keeper Loach stood firm in the England goal before being replaced by Blackburn youngster Fielding at half-time.
The game was disrupted by a string of substitutions at the start of the second half, but once the changes were made, Barazite continued to torment the England defence, forcing Fielding into a fine save in the 69th minute.
And Fielding secured a draw for England as he pulled off an outstanding save to deny Vurnon Anita with just two minutes left.