Brooking eyes bright future

West Ham United legend Sir Trevor Brooking believes England have a very exciting future on the International stage - judging by the quality of players at Under-21 level.

Hammers skipper Nigel Reo-Coker will be captaining the England Under-21 side tonight as they take on Spain at Pride Park, but defender Anton Ferdinand misses out through injury.

Sir Trevor said: "It should be a cracking game. There are some really exciting players to look out for.

"I thought that we showed some great character to get through the qualifiers, especially beating Switzerland when they had five senior players in the side."

Tonight's friendly is a warm-up ahead of this summer's European Under-21s Championship finals - and Sir Trevor added: "What has encouraged me most is that we scored goals and always looked likely to score goals, even in big matches. We haven't always been able to do that.

"We have a tough group in the Finals, with Italy, Serbia and the Czech Republic, but let's hope we can really show our potential in those games."

Stuart Pearce, another Hammers legend, will be taking charge of the England Under-21s tonight for the first time.

"The squad and the ability within the squad lends itself to keeping on going the way they have been," Stuart confirmed. "It would be foolish of me to come in and try to drastically change things."

"They've got a successful formula that's working for them and a good spirit within the camp, so from my point of view it's a case of coming in and having a look round and approaching things in a quiet manner. I'll see what we've got and get to know one or two characters we have in the squad."

by Gemma Clarke