England's caretaker manager, Stuart Pearce, yesterday put himself in the frame to take the job for Euro 2012 this summer – although not beyond that – should the Football Association fail to appoint a new man in time.
Pearce, 49, who named his squad for the friendly against the Netherlands at Wembley on Wednesday, said he accepted he did not have the track record to get the England manager's job on a full-time basis but that his tournament experience made him a candidate to remain in charge for the European Championship.
Currently manager of the Under-21s, whom he has taken to three European Championships, and the prospective coach of Team GB at the London Olympics, Pearce said that he had told the FA he was ready to take the job for the summer. Harry Redknapp remains the runaway favourite to succeed Fabio Capello on a permanent basis but a move for him is not without potential problems.
The surprise inclusion in the squad was the Sunderland striker Fraizer Campbell, one of two uncapped names among the 25 along with Manchester United's Tom Cleverley. Pearce also recalled Micah Richards, out of favour under Capello. Otherwise it was more about the omissions, such as Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick, Andy Carroll, Joleon Lescott and Peter Crouch.
Pearce said he had spoken to all those left out – and had visited one in person – to tell them that he wanted to give some of the less experienced players a chance. He added he was eager that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should be allowed to develop in the Under-21s first and the Arsenal winger is in their squad to face Belgium next week.
On his willingness to coach the senior team at Euro 2012, Pearce said that he had outlined his ambitions to the Club England director Trevor Brooking. "I would be the first person to say this [permanent] job is for a very experienced manager, someone with a better CV than I have. I have been asked to do the job next week. I have also said to the federation [FA] I would be more than happy to take the team to the tournament.
"I feel as though I have enough experience. I have been to semi-finals as a player. I have been to tournaments and reached finals and semi-finals with the Under-21s. I have been to South Africa with Fabio. I have enough tournament experience."
Pearce conceded that whatever happens in the next four months, the "expectation ... will be slightly out of tilt with reality" come Euro 2012. He said: "I don't want to play down our chances of winning anything, I would not do that, but trophy cabinets don't lie – 1966 was the last time we pulled a trophy out. Whether I like it as an Englishman or not, that is a fact."