Pearce counts down to Denmark

Stuart Pearce said he was looking forward to an "exciting summer" after selecting a strong provisional squad featuring six senior internationals for the finals in Denmark.

Andy Carroll celebrates scoring for England's seniors against Ghana
Andy Carroll celebrates scoring for England's seniors against Ghana ©Getty Images

Arsenal FC midfielder Jack Wilshere and Liverpool FC striker Andy Carroll are among the big names in Stuart Pearce's provisional England squad for the UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals in Denmark.

Wilshere has shone in the Arsenal midfield this season, while Carroll became the most expensive British player of all time when he left Newcastle United FC for Liverpool FC in a €40.25m deal in January.

The pair are two of six players to have senior international caps, the others being Danny Welbeck, Jordan Henderson, Micah Richards and Kieran Gibbs. Richards and Gibbs have plenty of experience at this level, however, having been part of the England team that lost the 2009 final to Germany in Sweden.

Former England defender Pearce is excited about what lies ahead at the finals, where his side will face Spain, Ukraine and the Czech Republic in Group B. "The countdown's well and truly on," he said. "It will be quite an exciting summer. The last two tournaments I've been involved in have been brilliant. The exposure in the tournament is getting bigger and bigger, so it's fantastic to be involved.

"There are a lot of people who have contributed over a two-year period to help get the team to be ranked number one in Europe and to help us reach a third successive finals."

Pearce will trim his squad of 40 down to the final 23 on 1 June, four days before England conclude their preparations with a friendly against Norway in Southampton.

Provisional England squad
Frankie Fielding (Blackburn Rovers FC), Scott Loach (Watford FC), Jason Steele (Middlesbrough FC), Alex McCarthy (Reading FC).

Defenders: Joe Bennett (Middlesbrough FC), Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea FC), Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal FC), Phil Jones (Blackburn Rovers FC), Michael Mancienne (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Ben Mee (Leicester City FC), Kyle Naughton (Leicester City FC), Micah Richards (Manchester City FC), Chris Smalling (Manchester United FC), James Tomkins (West Ham United FC), Kieran Trippier (Barnsley FC), Kyle Walker (Aston Villa FC).

Midfielders: Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa FC), Jack Cork (Burnley FC), Tom Cleverley (Wigan Athletic FC), Adam Hammill (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Jordan Henderson (Sunderland AFC), Jonathan Howson (Leeds United AFC), Adam Lallana (Southampton FC), Henri Lansbury (Norwich City FC), Josh McEachran (Chelsea FC), Fabrice Muamba (Bolton Wanderers FC), Jack Rodwell (Everton FC), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur FC), Scott Sinclair (Swansea City FC), Jay Spearing (Liverpool FC), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal FC).

Forwards: Andy Carroll (Liverpool FC), Nathan Delfouneso (Burnley FC), Gary Hooper (Celtic FC), Jay Rodriguez (Burnley FC), Freddie Sears (West Ham United FC), Daniel Sturridge (Bolton Wanderers FC), James Vaughan (Crystal Palace FC), Danny Welbeck (Sunderland AFC), Connor Wickham (Ipswich Town FC).