Stearman makes Pearce impact

Wolves defender could force his way into Under-21 reckoning

Stearman: Impressive debut

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Coach Stuart Pearce believes Richard Stearman could be in contention for a place in his England squad at the European Under 21 Championships next summer.

The Wolves defender made his Under 21 debut in Tuesday's friendly against the Czech Republic and produced an assured performance in a 2-0 win.

The absence of several key players opened the door for Stearman to come in at centre-back at Bramall Lane.

And although the former Leicester trainee will face stiff competition for a trip to Sweden next June, he has certainly made a positive impression on Pearce while being involved with the Under 21 squad.

"I was absolutely delighted with Richard - he put in a very good performance," said Pearce.

Good options

"The position is probably the strongest we have in the squad bearing in mind that David Wheater, Steven Taylor, Micah Richards and Michael Mancienne weren't here.

"And I have got a player in Stearman who has gone out and put in a good solid performance at the heart of my defence on his debut for the side.

"One or two players - if not three or four - have come in and done particularly well.

"Some of the youngsters have said 'hey, you can shove me on at half-time or even start with us because we won't get phased by playing for the England Under 21 side', which is great to see.

"Richard has been omitted from the last two or three squads but when we've had injuries or people pull out, we have had to call him up.

"And he's turned up at the drop of a hat two or three times and had to be patient for his chance to play and now it's come so he's thoroughly deserved it."

Pearce reckons that Stearman's attitude and versatility would make him a useful addition to the squad.

Positive attitude

"Whereas some players get criticised, I think Stearman's attitude has been spot on," he added.

"Some players might say 'well, if you're not picking me then I'm not coming' but that's not in his locker.

"He has turned up and been arguably as good as anyone on the pitch in a white shirt and has done himself a lot of credit with what he has shown he can do.

"The fact he can play right-back as well is useful to me in terms of the future so he should be very pleased with what he is doing at the moment both for club and country."