Duo will keep their focus – Pearce
Stuart Pearce is confident Phil Jones’ and Jordan Henderson’s big-money moves to Manchester United and Liverpool would not distract them during England’s European Under-21 Championship campaign.
Jones and Henderson were allowed to thrash out deals with what are set to be their new clubs on Wednesday while the rest of Pearce’s squad travelled to Denmark for this month’s finals. The pair arrived later in the evening and played a full part in the squad’s first full training session at Fredericia FC, near the team’s base in Jutland.
Their transfers had still to be completed yesterday and there is the danger their minds could be elsewhere ahead of England’s tournament opener against Spain on Sunday.
But Pearce said: “They’re fantastically focused players and an absolute pleasure to work with.
“I had contact with both of them beforehand to ask for permission to go and tie up individual deals this week with the clubs. If I was in their position, I’d want a deal tied up before I went to a major championship.
“I wouldn’t want to be worrying about it and I think that was their mentality as well.”
There is every chance more of Pearce’s squad could be subject to transfer bids during the tournament but the head coach will not allow anyone else to complete a move.
“That’s finished now,” he said. “We’re here as England players and those players will be fully focused on being here.
“I just deemed it was right and proper in regard to those two individuals before we actually met up that they did actually go and resolve those problems.
“I’m not actually aware at this stage that there is anyone else on the verge of moving clubs.”
Pearce was not surprised at the reported £16 million figures being paid for Blackburn defender Jones and Sunderland midfielder Henderson, although he added: “I think the market’s a little bit distorted financially, I really do.
“But I’m not taking anything away from the real talent there. If I was a club manager and I had the finance to buy those two individuals, I would do it at the drop of a hat, A: for their ability, and B: for their mentality to want to get better and be level-headed kids.
“I think you pay a premium for that this day and age.”
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has described Jones as a future England captain. Pearce, whose side have never lost when the 19-year-old has been on the field, said: “I see bits and pieces of that in him, without a doubt. I think that’s a wise statement from Harry.”