ENGLAND Under 21 head coach Stuart Pearce renewed old rivalry in Wembley last week, but not as you might expect.
Instead Pearce, a former pupil of Claremont High School, welcomed pupils of Kingsbury High, Claremont’s neighbours, to the national stadium.
On Friday (Nov 13) a group of 23 pupils from Kingsbury High got the chance to see Stuart Pearce’s young lions put through their paces in their final training session at Wembley ahead of their important Euro 2011 qualifying match with Portugal, which they went on to win 1-0.
Pearce said: “Every time the Under 21s meet up I express the importance of us giving something back to the community in whatever way we can. As The FA now works here at the stadium it is even more important we work with our local community and I was delighted to welcome the school to see us train.
“You have to remember some of the boys in our squad were in the same position as these children just a few years ago, hoping for a chance to show what they can achieve in life. Hopefully we can inspire one or two youngsters along the way.”
The pupils all taking part in lessons at Wembley Stadium’s Learning Zone – where they couple English lessons with fun football-based activities, all designed to improve their education.
Following last week’s English lesson the youngsters were given the opportunity to meet the England Under 21 squad players as well as get some autographs and pictures before settling in to watch them train under the famous arch.
Wayne Smith, Wembley Learning Zone manager, said: “We are delighted that Stuart and the team had been able to take some time out of their preparations to meet with some of our local young people. It was a fantastic opportunity for them to meet some of their heroes and watch them train.
“This occasion really underlines how much local community projects, such as our work with Brent schools in the Stadium’s Learning Zone, are valued by the FA."