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By ESPN Staff

Pearce: Door still open for James return

Stuart Pearce believes David James is capable of regaining his England spot despite dropping into the Championship with Bristol City at the age of 40.

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Pearce was in charge of James when manager of Manchester City and also as one of the senior coaches in the international set-up in addition to his role as England Under-21 boss. He believes James will have been "hurt'' to be overlooked for the friendly international with Hungary at Wembley on Wednesday.

He said: "You pick the best possible players. David played three out of the four World Cup games in the summer and, if his form is good enough, I think he'll fight his way back in. With David as well, he has always kept himself available to play for England. He is very passionate about playing for his country.

"Whilst it will have hurt him for a bit when the squad was picked and he wasn't in it, I am sure he will roll his sleeves up and respond. He will be saying 'I mean to make sure my form is good enough to have the opportunity to break back in.'''

Pearce was unsurprised by James' decision to move to Ashton Gate after two decades of top flight football. He said: "David is a flagship signing which has put the club on the map to push on for the Premier League. I wasn't surprised he signed totally. He is 40 and extremely fit.

"I worked with David at Man City and he wanted to leave to go to the south because of family commitments. Now he has done that with Bristol City.''

Meanwhile, Stoke City boss Tony Pulis has backed Ryan Shawcross to win his place back in the England squad. Shawcross, who received his first call-up last season, was not selected by Fabio Capello for Wednesday's friendly against Hungary, but Pulis believes the defender could even captain his country in the future.

"Ryan had a couple of injuries at the end of last season which pushed him back a bit,'' Pulis told the Stoke Sentinel. "But he will play for England and could one day captain England. He's quick and got good feet - and he's a good footballer as well.''

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