England starlets eye strong Euro opening

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ENGLAND Under-21 Head Coach Stuart Pearce has hinted Fabio Capello may have to take second pick when it comes to squad selection today, as he bids to hit the ground running in his own European qualification campaign.

Pearce’s side have a double date ahead of them as they face Azerbaijan at Watford’s Vicarage Road on Thursday September 1 followed by a trip to South Yorkshire to take on Israel at Barnsley’s Oakwell Stadium on Monday September 5, kick-off 7pm.

According to Pearce, fans of the Under-21s might well see some of the Premier League’s most talented young stars on show, including the likes of Manchester United’s Danny Welbeck, Phil Jones and Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson, as he hopes to name a strong squad.

Pearce, a Three Lions legend, is looking to gel his new England Under-21 team in what will be their first meeting as a group as they embark on an arduous two-year qualifying campaign, which starts with Azerbaijan before the friendly with Israel, a side that he hopes to meet again as they host the UEFA European Championship Finals in 2013.

“I’ll have to speak with Fabio in respect to squad selection,” Pearce said.

“The seniors do always come first but what we want is to make sure we maximise the playing time for all the players, there’s no point them being there and not playing, they need to be playing where humanly possible.

“It’s going to be a real ‘hit the ground running’ scenario. It’s a great opportunity for a new dawn in trying to qualify for Israel in a couple of years’ time.

“It’s about making sure we get everything we want out of this two game block.”

Tickets are priced at £10 for adults for the showdown at Barnsley, £5 for children, whie Reds season-ticket-holders will receive a 50 per cent discount.

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