Pearce in positive mood ahead of U-21 test

September 11, 2007

England Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce wants his youngsters to maintain the 'feelgood factor' that comes when the national teams win.

The under-21s won in Montenegro the day before the seniors defeated Israel and they are playing Bulgaria Under-21s tonight, 24 hours before Steve McClaren's side host Russia.

With England's women also playing at their World Cup, Pearce is keen to continue the momentum from the weekend when his side play in Sofia.

'Every time the national side win, whatever age group, whatever sex, it's vitally important not just for the country but the Football Association in general,' he said.

'The under-21s and seniors live off each other, like a reserve team and a first team at any given football club.

'If you keep winning it breeds a nice feelgood factor. We're a long way away from the seniors but the first text I get is from Steve McClaren telling me `great result'.

'Soon as they get a good result, the first person I ring is him and congratulate him.'

Two wins from their first two Euro 2009 qualifiers would put Pearce's side in command of Group 3 at this early stage.

'Our goal is to get on the plane on Tuesday night with six points,' added the former Manchester City boss.

Pearce guided the under-21s to the semi-finals of the last tournament, and midfielder Mark Noble feels the new squad are already starting to gel.

'There were a lot of older players in the last squad like Leets (Leroy Lita), Nuge (David Nugent), Bainesy (Leighton Baines) and others who proved themselves in the Premier League week-in week-out,' said the West Ham player.

'If we qualify I'm sure we will have players like them who have had another couple of years in the Premier League, like Steven Taylor, James Milner and Tom Huddlestone.

'We've got some fantastic players here. Gabri (Gabriel Agbonlahor) is scoring goals week-in week-out and Theo (Walcott) is starting to play more at Arsenal and showing the player he is.

'We've got a really good squad and we're gelling well. It would be nice to qualify and really have a go at going one better than last time.'

Pearce has to decide whether to bring Tom Huddlestone back into the midfield to partner Noble as the Tottenham youngster has returned from suspension.