England under-21 manager Stuart Pearce believes that England's players need to relax more during major tournaments if they are to be successful.
Pearce was part of England boss Fabio Capello’s backroom staff during the disastrous World Cup campaign this summer and he believes that players become too tense in the build-up to big tournaments:
“There are times when you have to be fully focused but there should be down-time for the players, when they are able to switch off mentally," he told the Sunday People.
Pearce concedes that it is different dealing with his team during tournaments than it is with the senior side:
"Every manager is different. For instance, there are certain things I can do with the under-21s that I could never do with the full England side because the scrutiny we are under is nothing compared to the senior side.” He said.
"We were not under the gaze of the press all time and one or two things that go with it. We can be a touch more relaxed.
"When we went into Sweden at the last [under-21] tournament, the players were free to sunbathe and things like that, but if that was the senior squad it would be unacceptable because they'd be photographed on the beach.”
Pearce’s under-21’s face a tricky away leg against Romania in order to qualify for the European championships in Denmark. His side holds a 2-1 lead from the first leg but Pearce was disappointed to lose Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere to the senior side:
"The seniors rightly take precedence over the under-21s. Jack's performances have been unbelievable.
"I'm pleased he is going with the seniors and I hope he plays against Montenegro on Tuesday - but part of him is disappointed he isn't playing with us.”
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