Stuart Pearce hopes England Under-21s can get 2013 campaign off to a flying start

Stuart Pearce: Hopes England Under-21s can get their 2013 campaign off to a flying start when they play Sweden next month

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Stuart Pearce hopes his England Under-21s can start a solid run of form when they face Sweden next month, with the summer's European Championship in sight.

The Young Lions will begin their Euro preparations when they play Sweden Under-21s on February 5 at Banks's Stadium, in what will be their first fixture of 2013.

Pearce's side won all six of their qualifying games and the Under-21 team boss is keen to build on last year's performance.

He said: "2012 was a good year for us.

"Defensively we were very strong not conceding a goal, while we created a lot of chances. The squad evolved too, so we saw a lot of players during the year illustrating the depth we have.

"We hope the game in Walsall will give us the chance to start this year where we left off in November as we build towards Israel.

"We need to start the year well and take a solid run of form forward as we build for June and beyond.

"I expect Sweden will come with a younger side, and for us we'll probably have one or two players who have done extremely well over the winter period."