Pearce releases quintet
Five players to miss Iceland friendly
Last Updated: March 26, 2011 12:36pm
Welbeck and Henderson: Released
England Under 21s manager Stuart Pearce has allowed five players to return to their Premier League clubs.
The Football Association confirmed on Saturday that Sunderland duo Jordan Henderson and Danny Welbeck, Manchester United's Chris Smalling and Bolton pair Fabrice Muamba and Daniel Sturridge, would not be staying with the Under 21 squad.
All five played in the 4-0 win over Denmark in Viborg on Thursday, but will miss the friendly against Iceland at Deepdale on Monday night.
Manchester City's Micah Richards will also be unavailable following the hamstring injury he picked up in the Denmark game.
The FA also announced that Pearce's team will face Norway in Southampton on 5th June for their final friendly ahead of the European Championship in Denmark this summer.
Room for improvement
Despite the emphatic victory in Viborg, England will be looking for an improved performance against Iceland.
Assistant manager Steve Wigley said: "I would describe it as work in progress.
"We were never going to lose the game at any time I felt, but we can play better and since we've qualified the squad has been very fragmented which you expect to happen because some players needed rest."
One thing that could cause England problems leading up to the tournament is the ever-growing injury list.
Already without the likes of Stephen Kelly and Jack Rodwell, captain Richards was stretchered off after only five minutes against the Danes and is now a doubt for Manchester City's FA Cup semi-final against rivals Manchester United.
The number of injuries was highlighted by Wigley as one of the reasons Pearce is still unclear who will be in his squad for the tournament finals.
"If you were to write your squad today, I guarantee it would be a lot different come May," he said.
"Within any squad there will be people who have embedded themselves in it, but there is always room for someone to come along and surprise us."