Pearce names U21 squad

Preston defender Jones earns call

Pearce: Focused

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Stuart Pearce has named his England Under 21 squad for the Euro 2009 qualifiers against Montenegro and Republic of Ireland.

Manchester City's impressive Michael Johnson has been recalled, while Preston full-back Billy Jones has earned his first call-up.

Johnson missed the away victories over Montenegro and Bulgaria through injury, but after some excellent performances for his club he is likely to feature in the forthcoming fixtures.


An injury to Michael Mancienne has created an opening for Jones, while Birmingham City's Cameron Jerome has been included after impressing Pearce with his performance against Manchester United.

"Cameron has forced his way in at club level. I saw him play against Manchester United and thought he caused them problems and was a handful," Pearce said.

"Also Billy Jones has come in, to supplement what we've got, since losing Michael Mancienne to injury, so we just hope we don't lose any more."


After an excellent start to their qualifying campaign Pearce has emphasised the need to drive on and improve in their upcoming back-to-back fixtures.

"We need to capitalise on the two games coming up," he added.

"The two results out in Montenegro and Bulgaria were very good, we couldn't ask for any more from the players.

"We haven't conceded a goal in the two games, we've scored five, picked up maximum points, but we now need to capitalise on the two games coming up.

"But it just goes to show the mark of the group, we feel that we have picked up two very good results away from home, but we're not top of the group."

England Under 21 squad:

Goalkeepers: Ben Alnwick (on loan at Luton Town), Joe Hart (Manchester City), Joe Lewis (on loan at Morecambe)

Defenders: Martin Cranie (Portsmouth), Craig Gardner (Aston Villa), Billy Jones (Preston North End), Nedum Onuoha (Manchester City), Andrew Taylor (Middlesbrough), Steven Taylor (Newcastle United), David Wheater (Middlesbrough)

Midfielders: Tom Huddlestone (Tottenham Hotspur), Adam Johnson (on loan at Watford), Michael Johnson (Manchester City), Michael Kightly (Wolves), James Milner (Newcastle United), Fabrice Muamba (Birmingham City), Mark Noble (West Ham United), Andrew Surman (Southampton)

Forwards: Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa), Dexter Blackstock (QPR), Matt Derbyshire (Blackburn Rovers), Cameron Jerome (Birmingham City), Luke Moore (Aston Villa).