Pearce has been dealt a number of selection problems preparing for the finals in Holland - starting with failing to contact Gabriel Agbonlahor then the withdrawal of David Bentley due to "fatigue" - but the remaining 22 youngsters are raring to go. "It has hurt us but it's not down to me to comment on that situation," admitted skipper Nigel Reo-Coker. "As a squad we have to get on with it and we're very excited about the tournament." Pearce was in the seniors squad in 1996 that swept their off-the-field problems to one side to reach the latter stages of a major tournament, and success this summer would put him back in contention for a club job after getting sacked at Manchester City the day after the Premiership season ended. While Pearce will be looking for a new job after tournament - a full-time Under-21 role could be available as well - Reo-Coker looks set to leave West Ham, with Aston Villa tabling a bid for the midfielder. The 23-year-old, however, is concentrating purely on the finals, with England starting their campaign on Monday evening against Czech Republic at the Gelredome in Arnhem. "It's all about the Under-21s," he said. "It's nothing to do with my personal career. "If I said it was easy I'd be lying. It's not easy but at the end of the day it's about being professional and that's got to be put to the back of my mind, which it is. "Whatever happens will happen but I'm not interested in that now." The tournament has been switched to 'odd' years to fall between major senior championships, raising its profile. Pearce believes it gives his players the opportunity to put themselves in the limelight. "This is a big tournament," said Pearce. "There is great expectation for the tournament. It will get greater and greater and be a good summer's football. "Every time you take to the pitch you are putting yourself in the shop window and proving yourself to your team-mates. We're all in the same boat. "From my point of view losing a job was disappointing. I know from my own history it will make me stronger. It is experience telling me that and inner strength." Adding to Pearce's selection problems is a groin complaint for Anton Ferdinand and Steven Taylor's suspension for the first game. It leaves him short at centre-back, and Nedum Onuoha may be asked to play in a central role if Ferdinand does not make it. Despite their problems, England are among the favourites after going unbeaten since 2005, the last defeat being the qualifying play-off to a Franck Ribery-inspired France. The team Pearce inherited from Peter Taylor has a settled 4-3-3 formation, with players slotting in when call-ups have been made to the seniors. Even without the likes of Theo Walcott and Micah Richards, Pearce's youngsters have been tipped to at least reach the semi-finals next week, although Pearce remains cautious. "We often overcook our chances before tournaments. We are aware of that but the bottom line is that you have to put the hard work in," added Pearce, whose side will face Italy and Serbia later in the week. "In the three tournaments I played in we didn't win any of the first games. We drew them all. It is important not to lose, but the sooner you get momentum the better." While Agbonlahor and Bentley chose not to play, Mark Noble cancelled a lads' holiday to Mexico to be part of Pearce's squad in Holland. "All the masseurs and physios at West Ham were saying don't book any holidays in case you get called up and I was like 'no, no'," he said. "The missus was pleased because I wasn't going to Mexico with the boys. "If we win it the Mexico trip will be at the back of my mind." Czech Republic striker Michal Papadopulos, who has previously had a spell at Arsenal, is wary of Pearce's youngsters. "Of course you have to put England among the favourites," he said. "But while we respect their quality, we are not afraid of them."