Date: 18th August 2008 at 5:04pm
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Stuart Pearce has challenged Gabby and Gardner to secure two caps each time they represent England.

The England U-21’s face Slovenia at Hull’s KC stadium tomorrow and both are in Pearce’s squad.

However Pearce has said that a good performance against Slovenia could guarantee them a starting spot for next months European Championship qualifier against Portugal – implying that when you play for one cap, you are effectively trying to secure two.

Speaking on the official site, he said:

‘We are in the scenario now where we are in the build-up to a big tournament so it’s a vital match for us with our final qualifier against Portugal at Wembley on the horizon.

‘Friendlies are not friendlies when you play for England, and as a patriot I was very proud every time I played for my country. Players are judged each time they pull on a shirt for England.

‘And I’ve always said, if you play for your country you are playing for two caps. Play well in one game and you’ll give yourself a chance for another opportunity in the next match.’

Gabby and Gardner have become almost mainstays in the U-21 side and whilst Fabio Capello picks old timers and proven failures at International level at least the look of the U-21 squad should give England fans some hope for the future.

Pearce went on to add:

‘I’ve picked a strong squad for this game and it’s down to those individuals now, and anyone outside that squad, to really start trying to nail down a place for the final squad next summer, should we qualify for Sweden.

‘It’s not me that picks the squad, it’s the players themselves and their performances that will pick the squad.’