Nigel Pearson says that being the first man to lead England out at the New Wembley is a 'real honour'.
England v Italy
Under-21 International Friendly
12.30pm, Saturday 24 March 2007
Nigel Pearson says he will be one of the proudest men inside the new Wembley when he leads out the England Under-21s for the first time on Saturday.
Assistant manager Pearson is hoping to make it a day to remember for the 60,000 sell-out crowd with an opening victory over Italy.
England Under-21 boss Stuart Pearce will be watching from the stands but, due to club commitments with Manchester City, will leave team affairs to Pearson and coach Steve Wigley.
Pearson knows his team will be creating history at the new arena, but is hopeful they can find the right balance between enjoying the big day out and getting a valuable victory before the European Under-21 Championships get underway in the summer.
Pearson said: “As an individual it's fantastic to be involved, it's a privilege and I'm a very proud man. It's a real plus to be part of what is an historic event, but we're also in the process of building up to an important Championship.
“It's fantastic for English football to be back at home. While we've been waiting, the matches have been shared and given fans to see England matches in their own area.
“But it is vitally important that we do get back home and the national stadium is up and running. It's a big event and they are very are very lucky people to be playing there.
“We are conscious that the reputation of the nation is paramount - we don't want to go into any games and not try to win.
“Speaking to the players, this is a major thing for them. It is a great experience to play at the national stadium, we have to enjoy it but we have a job to do as well.”