ENGLAND coach Stuart Pearce paid tribute to Kyle Naughton after the Sheffield United defender made his Under-21 debut during last night's victory over the Czech Republic at Bramall Lane.
Naughton made his bow as a second-half substitute as goals from Fraizer Campbell and Craig Gardner ensured the young Lions' preparations for next year's European Championship finals remained firmly on track.
Asked about the prospects of Naughton and Leeds' Fabian Delph, Pearce said: "They've fitted in well.
"Sometimes, when players come on at this level, you can see if they're going to be nervous but they settled down well and, if anything, gave us a lift.
"Naughton got a great reception and I'm not surprised. He's a lad with a bright future who's been doing well for his club and if he carries on listening to his manager then he'll get even better."
With a Championship fixture at Charlton looming large on the horizon, United manager Kevin Blackwell and his No 2 Sam Ellis will not have been too peturbed by Naughton's late arrival in the game on 60 minutes.
Blackwell and Ellis still had plenty to occupy themselves as they watched the action unfold.Wolverhampton Wanderers, who visit Bramall Lane on Tuesday, had two players in Pearce's starting eleven and the opportunity to observe Richard Stearman and Michael Kightly at close quarters provided some valuable pointers for next week.
Naughton received a rousing reception from the South Yorkshire crowd when he entered the fray.
Replacing on-loan Charlton defender Martin Cranie after the interval, the 20-year-old produced an assured cameo in his familiar right back role.
England, leading 2-0 at the time, had already seized control against technically gifted but error-prone opponents.
However Naughton, marking Sparta Prague's Martin Zeman, did his prospects of being included in Pearce's plans for March's visit to Norway no harm at all.
With several of his best players promoted to Fabio Capello's squad for tonight's senior friendly in Germany, Pearce will have been encouraged by the relative ease with which his experimental line-up brushed aside Jakub Dovalil's charges.
Campbell's deft 11th minute finish fired England into an early lead – the Tottenham striker taking advantage of Jan Halama's misjudgement – before James Vaughan blazed over the bar following more good work by the former Hull City marksman.
Stearman's perfectly executed tackle denied Tomas Peckhart as the Czechs searched for an equaliser but Gardner doubled England's advantage with a long-range free-kick.
Jamie O'Hara could have made it three when Campbell was bundled over by Jakub Heidenreich but missed from the spot.
England: Lewis (Fielding 31), Cranie (Naughton 60), O'Hara (Bertrand 80), Muamba (Cork 60), Stearman, Onuoha, Lennon, Gardner (Delph 86), Campbell (Ebanks-Blake 69), Vaughan (Lallana 86), Kightly. Subs Not Used: Johnson.
Czech Republic: Divis, Halama, Heidenreich, Mazuch, Svec (Lecjaks 77), Kudela (Polak 87), Horava, Dockal (Gecov 40), Micola (Zeman 64), Moravek (Blazek 64), Pekhart (Reznicek 46). Subs Not Used: Vaclik.
Referee: C Cakir (Turkey).
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