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Page last updated at 19:36 GMT, Thursday, 3 September 2009 20:36 UK

Pearce vows to protect Wilshere

Jack Wilshere
Wilshere impressed with Arsenal during pre-season

England Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce says he will nurture midfielder Jack Wilshere in the same way he did with his Arsenal team-mate Theo Walcott.

Wilshere, 17, has impressed with Arsenal over the past 12 months and could yet force his way into senior England coach Fabio Capello's plans.

"Time will tell and his ability will come to the fore," said Pearce.

Pearce was speaking ahead of his side's opening European Championship qualifier against Macedonia on Friday.

"I'll make sure I protect him as much as I can," added Pearce.

There is no doubt about it the boy has some fantastic talent

Stuart Pearce

"He'll come through in his own good time. There is no point in me lauding him up and talking about senior football at the moment.

"The first port of call is getting in your club side. He is at a very good club side. On top of that he needs to get in the Under-21 side and perform there. From there, who knows?"

Walcott is now an established member of England manager Capello's squad.

The Arsenal winger was also part of Pearce's squad that lost to Germany Under-21s in the final of the European Championships in Sweden two months ago.

Of Capello's current squad, James Milner has the record caps for the Under-21s, while Glen Johnson, Aaron Lennon, Ashley Young and Carlton Cole have experience at that level.

And Pearce feels that with the right guidance Wilshere could follow.

Stuart Pearce
Pearce's side face Macedonia on Friday

"One player gets singled out of my squad, normally a very young one," said Pearce.

"It was Theo, Theo, Theo all the time. What we said then was 'give Theo time to mature'.

"[Wilshere's] got to try to win a place in this Under-21 team at the moment - and he's got to try to win a place in Arsenal's team at the moment.


"That will happen in time, there is no doubt about that because the boy has some fantastic talent."

Meanwhile Micah Richards, Fabian Delph, James Vaughan and Ryan Bertrand will miss the opening two qualifiers but Jack Cork has been called up.

England Under-21s also face their Greece counterparts on Tuesday.

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see also
Wilshere in frame for World Cup
09 Aug 09 |  Internationals
Wilshere extends Arsenal contract
02 Jul 09 |  Arsenal
Pearce signs new England contract
29 Jun 09 |  Internationals
Germany U21 4-0 England U21
29 Jun 09 |  Internationals
Euro U21 final as it happened
29 Jun 09 |  Football
Eriksson backs Pearce for England
28 Jun 09 |  Internationals
England U21 3-3 Sweden U21 (aet)
26 Jun 09 |  Internationals
Pearce's England banish penalty pain
27 Jun 09 |  Internationals
Pearce stands defiant on Walcott
09 Jun 09 |  Internationals

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