Wolverhampton Wanderers defender Richard Stearman has capped a superb start to the season by being called into the England Under-21 squad.
The 21-year-old Wolverhampton-born centre back has made a magnificent start to his Wanderers career and has now been asked by Stuart Pearce to join the England squad for the Uefa Championship play-off qualifier against Wales after Manchester City’s Micah Richards picked up an injury.
The first leg takes place at Cardiff’s Ninian Park on Friday followed by the second leg at Villa Park on Tuesday night.
It could be third time lucky for Stearman, who has been called into the Under-21 squad before on two occasions but has not seen any action so far. Most recently he was an unused substitute in last month’s win against Portugal. He has been capped for England at under-17 and under-18 level
If he claims a cap it would be another exciting development in a incident-packed career so far. After starting his career at Leicester City and making his first team debut aged 17, the young defender soon began to attract attention and although the Foxes were relegated last season. Stearman was voted both Player of the Year and Player’s Player of the Year for his performances at full-back.
He signed a four year contract with Wolves in June for an undisclosed fee and after a shaky start, has settled down to become one of Wanderers’ more accomplished and consistent performers, even though he has been used at centre back.
Stearman will be joined by striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake in Pearce’s squad after last season’s top scorer shrugged off a knee injury which kept him out of Wolves’ visit to Swansea last Saturday.
The news that the former Plymouth Argyle hit-man is free from injury will be a welcome relief for Mick McCarthy after Wolves’ cracking start to the season suffered a major setback with back-to-back defeats last week.
However, he could also have Michael Kightly, who is expected to shake off a hamstring injury, and Chris Iwelumo, who has completed a three-game ban, back for the home game against Coventry City on October 18.
Goalkeeper Matt Murray and midfielder Mark Davies also continued their comebacks from injury yesterday when they were involved in the reserves 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers. Murray played over an hour after 15 months on the sidelines because of knee ligament damage, while Davies looked lively after returning from shin splint problems. Sam Winnall scored Wolves’ equaliser.
Meanwhile, winger Daniel Jones is settling in well at Oldham Athletic after joining John Sheridan’s side on a one month loan. Jones, who signed a contract extension until 2010 last week, made his debut for the Latics in the 3-1 defeat at Stockport County on Saturday but despite the result, Sheridan said he was delighted with Jones’ performance.
“I’ve been after Daniel for a while and I was very pleased with him,” he said. “I thought he was excellent. With Chris Taylor in front of him, we were a massive threat down the left-hand side.”