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England U21 boss Pearce: We have most senior absentees

England U21 manager Stuart Pearce says his squad has the most amount of absent players who have represented their country at senior level.

Ahead of this week's European Championships in Denmark, Pearce has indicated that he is ruing the decisions of Arsenal's Jack Wilshere and Liverpool's Andy Carroll to pull out of the squad along with Wilshere's Gunners teammate Kieran Gibbs and Manchester City defender Micah Richards.

Despite these losses, Pearce plans to put out the strongest line-up he possibly can against Spain on Sunday but does feel his squad is a bit behind some of the others.

"I've got a breakdown of all the nations here - how many of their players that have represented the seniors - and we've probably got maybe the biggest number of absentees," Pearce said.

"We need to make sure that when we turn up to these tournaments that the big, big players are here.

"We've got a lot of lessons to learn and the one reason I would say that is you look at the trophy cabinet - it never lies," he added.

"Draw a comparison between some of the Spanish players and see what they've done.

"Have a look what (Barcelona's Bojan Krkic) Bojan's done. This is his second under-21 tournament.

"For me, football's about playing football and that's what you should do."

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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