The England Under-21 coach has declared that he will not risk an injury to the Manchester City midfielder even though avoiding defeat will ensure Euro 2013 qualificationEngland Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce has revealed that he will assess the fitness of Manchester City midfielder Jack Rodwell before his team's crunch game against Serbia on Tuesday.
The England youngsters travel to Krusevac for the return fixture after a 1-0 home win against the Serbs, and they can book their place in the Euro 2013 finals in Israel if they can at least gain a point.
Rodwell returned from a hamstring problem, which ended his Euro 2012 hopes, on Friday but was replaced at half-time by Jason Lowe.
Pearce told Sky Sports News that that this cautious move was intended to ensure that the 21-year old does not have the same issues as he endured last season.
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“I didn’t want to take any chance for club or country. We’ll see if it settles down and if it’s not right, he won’t travel.”
The 50-year old also praised his young defenders who have now chalked up an impressive six clean sheets in their last eight matches - a record that will please Roy Hodgson as he looks to add more cover for the senior squad following John Terry's retirement.
The combination of Craig Dawson, Steven Caulker, Adam Smith, Danny Rose and goalkeeper Jack Butland have given the team a strong defensive base.
“To keep another clean sheet is a great achievement certainly when you miss chances like we did. We should have tucked them away," said Pearce.
“The cornerstone of this team in this campaign is the goalkeeper and the defence.
“All of the back four were outstanding and they have one of the brightest young keepers in Europe behind them.”