England caretaker boss 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 former Hull City striker 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.”