England v Holland: Frazier Campbell handed first call up as Stuart Pearce shakes-up England squad
ENGLAND caretaker manager Stuart Pearce has backed "exciting talent" Fraizer Campbell to thrive at international level after handing the Sunderland striker a surprise call-up for the friendly against Holland.
The 24-year-old came back into the Black Cats side this season after nearly 18 months out of the side and has made an immediate impact with two goals under new boss Martin O'Neill.
Pearce, who has managed Campbell at under-21 level, said: "I know Fraizer quite well because the heads-up I've got is I've taken the majority of these boys to under-21 tournaments. He was fantastic on the road with us at under-21 level.
"He's come back into the Sunderland side and given them a real lift. I spoke to Martin about him at a game a few days ago and he spoke very highly of him.
"He's worked fantastically well to get back from the injury he's had. He's an exciting talent. I think he'll thrive by coming into this environment."
Also in Pearce's squad, the first since Fabio Capello stepped down, are Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley and Manchester City defender Micah Richards.
Pearce has been impressed with the way Cleverley, who has also recently returned from injury, has adapted to a central role.
"He started the season fantastically well," said Pearce. "It's been a bit stop-start with injuries. He's come back into he United side, they've played him in a more central role, which is something I didn't do at under-21 level, and he's flourished.
"They (United) talk highly of him. He's got a big future. Just being around the senior set-up will stand him in good stead."
While Cleverley was part of Capello's plans. Richards was a notable absentee for almost the entire of the the Italian's tenure.
Pearce said: "He's done extremely well this year. To hold your place in the Manchester City side is no mean feat these days. He's had a smashing season.
"It will be interesting for him and his mentality coming back into the squad.
"It's important we nurture these talents and make sure they fulfil their potential.
"He's got a great opportunity to come in and impress."
He added: "We're on the home run for the tournament in the summer and I think it's important we get one or two of these young faces in here and see if they can handle a game of this magnitude."
Asked if anything should be read into the absence of the likes of John Terry and Frank Lampard from the experimental squad, Pearce said: "They won't be playing on Wednesday. Beyond that, no.
"My mentality going into the game was 'what would I need to learn as a manager going into a major tournament this summer and what would the possible next manager looking from afar need to learn about individuals?'
"I know Frank and John and other senior players and wouldn't learn anything from watching them play on Wednesday, but I might learn something from watching one or two of the other individuals about whether they are going to be good enough to serve England in the summer."
Goalkeepers: Scott Carson (Bursaspor), Joe Hart (Manchester City), Robert Green (West Ham United).
Defenders: Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Leighton Baines (Everton), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Micah Richards (Manchester City), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur).
Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Manchester City), Tom Cleverley (Manchester United), Stewart Downing (Liverpool), Adam Johnson (Manchester City), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), James Milner (Manchester City), Scott Parker (Tottenham Hotspur), Ashley Young (Manchester United), Theo Walcott (Arsenal).
Forwards: Darren Bent (Aston Villa), Fraizer Campbell (Sunderland), Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Danny Welbeck (Manchester United).