England Under-21 boss Stuart Pearce hands maiden call-ups to Raheem Sterling, Andros Townsend and Nick Powell

Stuart Pearce: Has named his squad for England's qualifier against Serbia

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Raheem Sterling, Andros Townsend and Nick Powell have all been handed their maiden England Under-21 call-ups.

The trio have been named in a 26-man squad by manager Stuart Pearce ahead of their Euro 2013 play-off double header with Serbia as England look to secure their fourth successive qualification for the competition.

Jamaica-born Sterling, who has caps at U16, U17 and U19 already, actually drops down from the senior squad after being called up for the World Cup qualifier with Ukraine last month.

All three players have made their Premier League debuts in the last six months and have been rewarded for their progress with call-ups by Pearce, who has also been boosted by the return of Jack Butland to his ranks after his recent stint with the senior squad.

Of Sterling, Pearce said: "He's been in our development squads and has done extremely well for Liverpool, and credit to Brendan [Rodgers] who has given him his chance. We are pleased to have him.

"Andros Townsend has also done well and has been around Tottenham's first-team squad consistently this year. Nick Powell got his move from Crewe, to a massive club at United, and has made his first-team bow. He has a really bright future. I'm really looking forward to bringing them into the squad to give us a lift. They couldn't come in at a more crucial time.

"Roy [Hodgson] and I have had a really good conversation in relation to my squad, last night being the last time we spoke, and he is more than aware of the Under-21s' key players. What's certain is the players are at the centre of the decisions both Roy and I make."

Squad in full: Ben Amos (Hull City - loan from Manchester United), Jack Butland (Birmingham City), Declan Rudd (Norwich City), Jason Steele (Middlesbrough), Ryan Bennett (Norwich City), Steven Caulker (Tottenham Hotspur), Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton), Craig Dawson (West Bromwich Albion), Tom Lees (Leeds United), Jack Rodwell (Manchester City), Danny Rose (Sunderland - loan from Tottenham Hotspur), Adam Smith (Tottenham Hotspur), Andre Wisdom (Liverpool), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Tom Ince (Blackpool), Henri Lansbury (Nottingham Forest), Jason Lowe (Blackburn Rovers), Josh McEachran (Middlesbrough - loan from Chelsea), Nick Powell (Manchester United), Jonjo Shelvey (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace), Nathan Delfouneso (Blackpool - loan from Aston Villa), Marvin Sordell (Bolton Wanderers), Andros Townsend (Tottenham Hotspur), Connor Wickham (Sunderland)