England Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce admitted that his side were left with 'a lot of lessons to be learned' after recording a 2-0 win over Bulgaria at stadium:mk.
Gabriel Agbonlahor's first-half header and a late James Milner penalty saw
Pearce's side rack up a fifth successive win in their European Championship
qualifying campaign but Bulgaria should have gone in ahead at the break.
Valeri Domovchiyski saw 17-year-old debutant Joe Mattock clear his low cross
off the goal line and had two other shots saved by Joe Hart in a first half
dominated by the visitors.
Pearce said: 'We're very disappointed in the first half and it would be
stupid to say anything else.
'They wanted one of their team-mates do to their hard work for them but
football doesn't work that way.
'We conceded too much possession, gave it away too cheaply and credit to
Bulgaria, they were very unfortunate not to go in one, two or even three goals
up at half-time.
'But we've got enough cutting edge about us to get a goal, even against the
run of play, which we did.
'We came in at half-time and changed the formation and we looked more solid
with the extra man in midfield.
'We ended up winning 2-0 and we're sat on top of the group with a lot of
lessons to be learned.'
Arsenal's 18-year-old forward Theo Walcott captivated a 22,000 crowd with a
masterful second-half display which was capped by a fine run which led to
Liverpool goalkeeper Nikolay Mihaylov bringing him down for the decisive
Walcott momentarily grappled with Milner for the ball before watching the
Newcastle man fire home and Pearce was heartened by what he saw as a desire to
get on the scoresheet.
He said: 'Milly was selected to take penalties but credit to Theo.
'The way he was playing tonight I'm not surprised he wanted to put himself up
to take it.
'A year he ago he was a bit of an introvert and wouldn't want to put himself
up for that but now all of a sudden he feels a big part of this team and wants
to be a part of that.
'But I'm pleased that Theo was desperate to get a goal for the team and it
shows that he's coming out of himself.
'Consistently over the 90 minutes he got me on my feet and excited me.
'His appetite to play the game was there. He's full of it at the minute and
has been all season.
'If we can get matches under his belt it's going to be a benefit to him and
he's playing for Arsenal a touch more regularly this season and you can see
'He was a thorn in their side the whole game. He's a box of tricks, he's game
and he wants to improve the whole time.
'He's at a fantastic club with a fantastic manager and he couldn't be doing
Pearce's side will now face Portugal on Tuesday night and a sixth win in
succession would put them within touching distance of a play-off spot.