In one of the most exciting finishesÂ to a game in recent memory Stuart Pearce’s brave England Under-21 team went down to defeat last night toÂ Holland. There was no doubting the courage and guts shown by the young England stars â€“ none moreÂ than Newcastle’s brave warriers Steven Taylor and James Milner.
With Holland equalizing with one minute to go in normal time â€“ and the score level at 1-1 after extra time – Pearce’s young guns went out after a dramatic match in Heerenveen.Â A drainedÂ Stuart Pearce was interviewed by Sky Sports afterÂ the emotionalÂ 13-12 penalty shoot-out loss last night.Â This is what Stuart had to say:
“It was an incredible evening,”
“I get emotional about representing my country anyway but I told the guys it was the proudest moment in terms of achievement I’ve ever had in football.”
“They are crestfallen. They gave their lot emotionally and physically. They’ve sweated blood for the country and it was not quite good enough.
“You want to be out there, it’s a small second best being a coach.”
Steven Taylor was injured just before Holland’s goal â€“ and with Taylor limping on and Nedum Onuoha helped off with an injury, England amazingly held on during extra time.
“The game carried on, we’ve got no complaints. The Dutch scored a goal fair and square.”
“Whether I could have patched up a team for the final, I don’t know,”
“It would have been nice to go all the way but I’m not so sure we could have fielded a side.”
Taylor of course had to take a penalty after the Dutch coach’s intervention â€“ but Pearce had no complaints about Dutch Coach Foppe de Haan telling the referee that Taylor had to take the penalty.
“When their coach raised the point, I was going to agree with him,”
“It’s the fairest way of doing it. It was the right and proper way to do it. The only thing it did was enhance the magnitude of Steven Taylor.”
“We were prepared, for weeks we were practising.
“The shoot-outs I’ve been involved in as a player were about five or six kicks so it’s a step in the right direction.”
Pearce also heaped praise on Newcastle hero Steven Taylor – who plays the game much like Stuart did.Â Â Pearce added:
“He’s the closest to Terry Butcher I’ve seen.
“I met his father last night and the biggest recommendation I could probably give the kid is that if my son turned out to have a mentality like him, I’d be very, very proud of him.Â “I can say no more about the boy.
“The beauty of working with these young lads is you get to know them inside out and as I say what a character this kid’s got, unbelievable.
“Ability wise he’s impressed me as well. Him and (Nedum) Onuoha have handled everything that’s been thrown at them.
“He’s an absolute credit to his football club and himself and his family.”
England’s performance last night epitomized the way Stuart Pearce thinks about England â€“ and the way he used to play for England – 100% all out.
We feel he will be an excellent full time coach for the England Under 21s â€“ certainly the youngsters are inspired under his leadership andÂ we expect him now to get the job full time – and he deserves it.
Stuart finished with:
“Whether it is me or someone else, there is a nucleus to take it forward,”Â “It’s down to the FA but I have enjoyed it immensely.”
Well said Stuart – comments always welcome on this site.