Stuart Pearce has backed West Ham star Jarrod Bowen for an England call-up with the World Cup just six months away. 

Bowen has been in fine form for West Ham this season, scoring 16 goals in all competitions as the Irons challenge for the Champions League places alongside an historic run to the semi-finals of the Europa League.

Hereford-born Bowen is yet to be included in an England squad, but Pearce, who was capped 78 times for his country, believes he could be in with a chance. 

“I don’t see why he couldn’t,” said Pearce, speaking in his role as a Pitching In ambassador.

“He’s playing well, he’s scoring goals, we’re playing well as a team. He’s a fantastic lad who wants to learn and wants to get better.  

“The important thing, as well, is that he will improve. I don’t think he’s the finished article and I think he’ll get better and better.” 

Bowen looked to be on the cusp of a call-up towards the end of 2021 but ultimately missed out with injury but Pearce believes the opportunity could still be there for the 25-year-old winger. 

“If he has a strong end to the season, the team are doing particularly well, he might be in the Nations League games in June,” added Pearce. 

“A big squad will be needed and if one or two of our teams get to the Champions League final, I’m not sure if Gareth will have all those players available for all those games.  

“That might open the door for Jarrod and he’s playing well enough.” 

There are similarities in the footballing journeys of Pearce and Bowen, with both having come through the non-league pyramid before reaching the Premier League. 

Bowen started out at Hereford United before making a move to Hull City in 2014, while Pearce played for Wealdstone for five years before moving to Coventry City in 1983. 

Pearce still cares greatly about the lower levels of the game, working as an ambassador for PitchingIn, the sponsors of the Trident Leagues, and believes there is great value from players playing at those levels. 

“Without the non-league scene and the bottom of the pyramid, there wouldn’t be the top end of the pyramid. 

“Everyone loves a story of a player coming through the non-league scene, [Jamie] Vardy certainly a few years ago captured the headlines when he made that journey to become a big star in the Premier League.

“I think there’s a real collection of players that have honed their trade at non-league in the local community and gone right the way through.” 

Ladbrokes, with the support of its owner Entain, has launched a multi-million-pound investment programme, Pitching In, designed to support and promote grassroots sports. For more details see: