Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Pearce to give youth its head against Dutch


The caretaker England manager, Stuart Pearce, is expected to give a group of young players an opportunity to impress for the senior team when he names his squad this morning for the friendly against the Netherlands next Wednesday.

Pearce has spent the last few days contacting a number of the more experienced England players to tell them they will not be in the squad for next week's friendly at Wembley. His openness has been welcomed by many players who were never spoken to directly by the former manager Fabio Capello.

The Football Association is guarding closely the names in the squad to the extent that it will only contact clubs this morning to tell them which of their players have been included in the group, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 18, of Arsenal is unlikely to be included despite rumours to the contrary. Manchester United's 22-year-old Tom Cleverley is expected to be called up. Pearce is also not planning to name a captain until after his squad meets up in case injury intervenes.

While Pearce is understood to be keen to give a number of young players a chance, he is not about to turn his back entirely on the experienced core of senior players. Wayne Rooney is expected to be given a recall.

Pearce has already told Jermain Defoe, Joleon Lescott, Michael Dawson, Phil Jagielka, Peter Crouch and Bobby Zamora that they will not be considered for today's squad.

Among the players up for consideration for Pearce are a number of those who have graduated from his Under-21s team. As far as the uncapped contingent goes Cleverley, who made his return from injury for United against Ajax last week, may feature. The likes of Daniel Sturridge, Phil Jones, Danny Welbeck and Kyle Walker should all have a chance.

Manchester City's Micah Richards may also be due a call back from the international wilderness, provided the injury he picked up last night against Porto in the Europa League does not prove too serious.

Pearce will also be conscious that this is an audition for the job on a long-term basis, although he remains a rank outsider to be Capello's permanent successor. With all Capello's Italian staff having left, Pearce will be assisted next week by the goalkeeping coach Ray Clemence and former Southampton manager Steve Wigley.