Jack Cork, Josh McEachran Impress With England U-21s

EMPOLI ITALY - FEBRUARY 08: Roberto Soriano of Italy fights for the ball with Joshua McEachran of England during the international friendly match between Italy U21 and England U21 at Stadio Carlo Castellani on February 8 2011 in Empoli Italy. (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

England's under-21 side may have lost to a late Federico Macheda penalty against Italy in Empoli, but Chelsea's representatives did pretty well for themselves. Jack Cork, currently on loan at Burnley, drew praise for a strong performance as a substitute, but it was 17 year-old Josh McEachran, who had been promoted from the U-19s, who received the bulk of the acclaim. Josh, who wore the #10 jersey, made several excellent passes after moving to a move influential role in the second half and set up a number of decent chances for his side only to see them spurned by a misfiring attack.

Although England lost, he caught the eye. Manager Stuart Pearce compared McEachran, who's featured for Chelsea's first team fourteen times so far this season, to Arsenal starlet Jack Wilshere, himself a recent graduate to England's senior side:

We talk about the lack of talent in England at times, but when you look at the talent of McEachran and Wilshere then I apply one of Sir Trevor (Brooking's) famous old sayings: 'If they were wearing Spanish shirts, you would revere them'.

They are two outstanding players who can see a pass and see the whole picture better than I can as a coach.

Pearce went on to say that McEachran was on the verge of a permanent call-up to the U-21s and he'd be coming in as a full-time starting player when he does make the jump. If he continues down this path he's almost certain to be an England regular someday - maybe alongside Jack Wilshere in a midfield three?

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