I’ll give young guns a chance to book their ticket to Eu­ros PEARCE BACKS NEW BOYS TO MAKE MARK

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grabs, then the bet­ter for us.

“I cer­tainly won’t be putting too much pres­sure on these play­ers.

“There will be an ex­pec­ta­tion on how they are to per­form but my job is to sup­port them, not write them off af­ter one match. That won’t hap­pen with me.

“It is the process of a long jour­ney rather than a short one.”

Pearce does have some old-stagers in his squad and Liver­pool’s Steven Ger­rard is one.

But the Scouser has only just re­cov­ered from long-term in­jury and Kenny Dal­glish will go bal­lis­tic if he goes back to An­field crocked.

Pearce said: “I would fully ex­pect him to play, he’s not been in an in­ter­na­tional match for a long, long time.

“It would be folly for a player of his qual­ity not to fea­ture in a game of this mag­ni­tude.

“I spoke with Kenny af­ter the Car­ling Cup final on Sun­day and I’m aware that when­ever I go into an in­ter­na­tional I have a duty of care to the coun­try and a duty of care to the play­ers.

“All the man­agers know if I put a player on the pitch only half-fit, then that will be detri­men­tal to the coun­try.”

Ger­rard is favourite to be named skip­per – if he is fit enough to start.

Liver­pool team-mate Glen John­son is the lat­est player to pull out through in­jury and has been re­placed by in­form Manch­ester City de­fender Joleon Lescott.

LEAD­ERS BY EX­AM­PLE: Ger­rard and

Pearce

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