Scott Parker named as England captain
Not a very surprising choice to be honest. Parker has been at the heart of a Spurs midfield with some teeth although in the last match against Arsenal he acted out his frustration picking up two bookings to exit with a cloud over his head as Spurs were victimized, 5-2.
Which probably gives an indication that Stuart Pearce had already picked him. Of the other candidates, Steven Gerrard recently returned from a protracted injury absence. He was on the pitch for that gripping Carling Cup victory but was not really instrumental in its outcome. Gareth Barry does not cut an inspirational figure. And Joe Hart who has undoubted leadership qualities is still a bit green.
Parker was also named England player of the year so this adds some momentum to his international future after being overlooked in the past. He first made his debut in 2003 and in those nine years has only managed 10 appearances.
Meanwhile, the more intriguing development is Stuart Pearce’s claim to England’s coaching job. Harry Redknapp’s stock took a bit of a beating since that comprehensive Arsenal loss. Much of his tactics were questioned in a second half meltdown that saw Spurs concede three more goals. The ineffective Niko Kranjcar was subbed off for the equally ineffective Sandro while Adebayor was kept in place over the more industrious and dangerous Saha. Spurs were inept defensively being pushed back by Arsenal as the Gunners were given time and space.
Pearce will be in the spotlight today against a thunderous Netherlands side which has Van Persie starting after a groin injury scare supposedly ruled him out. He will have to marshal his resources well without Wayne Rooney and Darren Bent leaving a relatively inexperienced attack in the hands of Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck. City’s right back Micah Richards also finds favour. Gary Cahill and Phil Jones look to take over the John Terry and Rio Ferdinand pairing in a generational overhaul. The midfield may see Tom Cleverly get his debut as Frank Lampard’s career wanes. If Pearce can pull off a win or an equally creditable draw against their more fancied opponents then the FA will have to weigh his claims seriously.