England U21 coach Roy Hodgson was delighted with their 6-0 rout of Scotland.
The young players did him proud at Bramall Lane with a 6-0 rout of their arch-rivals, thanks to goals from Nathan Redmond, Raheem Sterling, Connor Wickham, Ross Barkley, Jonjo Shelvey and Tom Carroll.
Much has been said about whether England have enough talent to challenge on the international stage following their dismal performance at the European Under-21 Championships this summer, which ultimately cost Pearce his job.
But Hodgson believes the players can hold their heads up high after a ruthless display.
He told BT Sport: "I'm delighted for them. They've taken a lot of criticism and some of that criticism has been very harsh.
"I must say, it would be very surprising if people can watch that performance, see how many talented players we have, and moan about the dearth of quality players in this country.
"It's a very nice victory and it's a very nice start to this new under-21 season for these players.
"What impressed me the most was the players' desire. If they did make any mistakes, or lost the ball, they were unbelievably quick to get back again.
"The work-rate was quite outstanding and I was really pleased to see that. It's great to see so many quality players producing skills at the highest level.
"There were no poor performances. They did themselves proud."
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