Pearce speaks on Senior selection
By Nicholas Veevers
Thursday, 23 February, 2012
Stuart Pearce speaks about his Senior squad selection.
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England caretaker manager Stuart Pearce selected his first Senior squad earlier today, before sitting down at Wembley with the media to discuss his choices ahead of next week’s game with Holland.
Pearce’s squad raised a few eyebrows on its announcement with a first Senior call-up for Sunderland striker Fraizer Campbell perhaps most striking, whilst he also picked Manchester City defender Micah Richards and Manchester United’s Tom Cleverley with a recall for West Ham United goalkeeper Rob Green.
The likes of Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney also back on duty, so the group has a mixture of youth and experience in there which Pearce feels is exactly what is needed for this game given that it’s the last fixture before the end of the campaign and build-up to the UEFA Euro 2012 Finals.
“My mentality going into this game and picking this squad is: what would I need to learn as a manager going into a major tournament in the summer?” said Pearce.
“And what would the next possible Manager, looking from afar, need to learn about individuals?
“I know Frank Lampard, I know John Terry and I know various other Senior players who are not in the squad so I don’t think I’d learn anything on Wednesday by watching them play.
“But I might learn something by watching one or two of the other individuals and whether they’re going to be good enough to serve England in the summer.”
In terms of the names mentioned above, Pearce was also happy to discuss the reasons behind his thinking, starting with Sunderland striker Campbell, who has previously represented England at U16, U17, U18 and Under-21 level and has just returned from a long term injury to regain his place at club level.
“I know Fraizer quite well, because I’ve taken the majority of these boys to Under-21 tournaments,” he explained.
“He’s been fantastic on the road with us at Under-21 level and he’s come back into the Sunderland side and given them a real lift. I spoke with Martin O’Neill about him a few days ago and he spoke very highly of him.
“He’s done fantastically well to work back from the injury he had and I think he’ll thrive by coming into this environment with us next week.
“I’ve also been to a major championship with Tom Cleverley and been on the road with him so I know he can handle tournament football.
“He started the season fantastically well but it’s been a bit stop-start with injuries for him. Now he’s come back into the United side and has been playing in a more central role and he’s flourished in there.
“I can’t talk highly enough of him and from what I’ve seen and what I know, I think he’s got a great future.
“There are quite a few names in this squad that I know and from being around in the set-up it will stand them in good stead.
“At this stage now, we’re on the home-run towards the summer and I think it’s important that we get one or two of these faces in there and find out whether they can handle a game of this magnitude.”
Meanwhile, after bursting onto the international scene under the stewardship of Steve McClaren in 2007, Richards had found his route to international football tougher under previous Manager Fabio Capello.
A former Under-21 captain for Pearce, his form for Manchester City this season hadn’t gone un-noticed and the caretaker manager believes this call-up is well deserved for the defender.
“I gave Micah his debut as a club player and I think he’s done extremely well this year,” said Pearce.
“To hold your place in the Manchester City team is no mean feat these days given the finances they’ve got there.
“I think he’s had a smashing season and it will be interesting for him with his mentality coming back into the squad.
“It’s important that we nurture these young talents and make sure they fulfil their potential. Micah is one of those that, maybe four or five years ago, the media were talking about him being a 100-cap England player.
“Talk and delivery are different modules if you like. He’s now got a great opportunity here to play and impress.”