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Zimbabwe denied by referee in COSAFA Castle Cup


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A mistake to sell Matic to United?

By ESPN Staff

Pearce sees few problems with dual role

Stuart Pearce insists he has no problem with switching off from his commitments at Manchester City and coaching the England Under-21 squad.

The 44-year-old has taken charge of his first training session in his new post, wearing the Three Lions for the first time since winning his final England cap as a player, in 1999.

His predecessor, Peter Taylor, stood down to concentrate on club matters at Championship side Crystal Palace but Pearce outlined how the international break means many of his players are away from Eastlands.

Pearce said: 'I had six first-team players available to train and 10 away on international duty.

'We've had to bring four players up from the academy to supplement the numbers and make the training worthwhile.

'When you put things in perspective, there's very little going on at Manchester City or other Premiership clubs this week because of international commitments.'

City lost to Reading at the weekend - with under-21s striker Leroy Lita scoring twice - but Pearce insists club matters will not affect him.

'I've got players who have won, drawn or lost at the weekend but we're with the under-21s now,' he said.

'You get a result on Saturday, try to flush it out of your system on Sunday and come Monday try to put a smile on face - to enhance what you've got or lift the players.'

Pearce also revealed that he does not intend to change his approach or style of coaching, even though he has a limited time with his team.

They face Spain on Wednesday at Pride Park and Pearce will watch their next friendly 'from a far' before preparing the team for the European Championships in Holland when the domestic season is over.

'It's exactly the same,' he said. 'I'll be myself whether it's club or country it doesn't matter.

'The right way to do things is the right way to do things. We'll see where it takes us from there.'

He added: 'The Football Association are happy with it. My football club and the board of directors are happy with it.

'My main concern is Manchester City, on top of that is the pride that this opportunity has given me.'

Pearce was known for his never-say-die approach while playing at left-back for England, and he has been impressed by the attitude he has seen in the under-21s squad, adding: 'From the first session I've seen, they've got enough passion in them.

'There is a lovely team spirit among them, so in that respect I think they are okay.

'There is an abundance of talent and it's a case of trying to enhance what they've already got. I've been impressed.'

He added: 'From my point of view it's about coming in and approaching things in a quiet manner. Getting to know some of the characters in the squad and seeing what we've got.'

'I think it's a great honour to have the job,' Pearce added. 'I think it should be someone who is full-time. It's like the importance of an academy coach in the big picture - they are absolutely vital to bring these players on to the full squad.

'With the scenario we have in the summer, it is absolutely vital that the Football Association put someone in place on a full-time basis. That's my own personal view, whether it happens is obviously not in my hands.

'For what it's worth, I think it's a full-time post and a post that it should be very coveted.'

Pearce's introduction to international management is the first time he has worn the Three Lions in a professional capacity since winning the last of his 78 caps, in 1999.

'It's been quite a while since I've been able to stand there in front of a national anthem,' he said. 'There have been places where I've heard it played, like Twickenham to watch the rugby, but when you're directly in the line-up as a player or manager it means a bit more.'

He added: 'It's been a long time, obviously I'd much prefer to be wearing it (the badge) as a player. That was my main drive to play the game.'

Pearce was positive about his first training session with the squad, even if he admits the pressures of footballers are now different to when he played for the under-21s.

While the passion he had while at left-back for Nottingham Forest and England is not necessarily a characteristic of modern young footballers, he does not believe this is something that can be coached.

'A lot of that comes from within the individual - how much importance they attach to representing their country,' he said. 'For me it's a massive honour, always has been and always will be.

'I came from the factory floor, if you like. I was a tradesman for years before coming into professional football and it does mean a lot to me.'

As one of England's promising managers, Pearce is hoping to use his experience as a 'learning curve' in his career, although he is not planning on changing his style of coaching now he is on the international stage.

'I am me,' he said. 'I'll manage as I do at club level. That's why I was asked to do the job, because what I've done at club level.'

And despite this rookie status on the international scene, there is still the possibility of winning a cup for England on the horizon. He famously reached the semi-final twice in major competitions as a player.

'If we did win I'd probably step away, let the players enjoy it and thank Peter Taylor for his input,' said Pearce. 'There have been good foundations laid down by Peter Taylor and he did a sensational job getting them where they are at the moment.'

Despite their closeness to Taylor, the players have given their full support to the new boss.

Skipper Nigel Reo-Coker said: 'We've tried to make it easy for him by being professional.'