x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Everton's Rodwell something to shout about, says Pearce

The England Under 21 coach Stuart Pearce described Jack Rodwell as showing maturity beyond his years during last night's draw against Germany.

England's Jack Rodwell, centre, celebrates with his teammates James Tomkins and Danny Rose.
England's Jack Rodwell, centre, celebrates with his teammates James Tomkins and Danny Rose.

HALMSTAD, SWEDEN // The England Under 21 coach Stuart Pearce described Jack Rodwell as showing maturity beyond his years during last night's draw against Germany. Rodwell's header ensured Pearce's youngsters go into their European Championship semi-final on Friday as Group B winners, and they will probably play the hosts Sweden or Serbia in the last four. Pearce made 10 changes to his starting XI ? and Everton's midfielder Rodwell, tipped to eventually play at centre-back, was among the newcomers who impressed at Orjans Vall. "He was beyond his years," said Pearce. "I told him three weeks ago I need to hear his voice more ? and I have heard him more and more. "Performances like that will come from it. He's quiet but strong mentally. Every day he has flourished more and more. He's a big bonus, but I expect that from him." Pearce believes resting almost his entire team will make the difference later this week. England were knocked out at the last-four stage two years ago but would have been depleted through injuries and suspension if they made it to the final. This time around, they still have an almost fully-fit squad. Gabriel Agbonlahor's calf problem is the only concern for Friday's match in Gothenburg. "Two years ago Holland and Serbia both got to the final after resting players in their third group game," Pearce recalls. "So I think it is helpful. "It saves your bookings and suspensions. If we'd got to the final two years ago we would have been on our knees. This time we go into a semi-final, we hope, with 23 fit players." Pearce's changes, Joe Lewis also replacing Scott Loach in goal at half-time, means every member of his squad has now played at the finals. They started slowly last night and fell behind to Gonzalo Castro's early goal, but got into their stride and finished strongly after Rodwell's equaliser.

* PA Sport