The Sports Matrix: Wednesday 29 February 2012


Pearce eases into 'tournament management'

England caretaker coach Stuart Pearce has reiterated his interest in taking the job for the European Championship as he prepares to lead the side in tonight's friendly with the Netherlands at Wembley. The former Nottingham Forest left-back, who was handed the interim position following the resignation of Fabio Capello earlier this month, has held discussions with the squad over the plans for the tournament in Poland and Ukraine this summer, clicking into what he terms "tournament management".

"I've been asked by the FA to step in for this game and there's been no promises," the 49-year-old said. "All that's happened is that I've put some plans in place. Fabio had most of the training camp [for the European Championship] put into place and I've tinkered with that slightly. I felt I had to do that, not just because of the possibility I might take over, but for the next man in the door."

Liverpool defender Glen Johnson became the latest withdrawal from Pearce's original 25-man squad last night, with Manchester City centre-back Joleon Lescott called up as a replacement. MORE

Hart: England have to get on with it

Joe Hart has denied that off-field problems will affect England during this summer's European Championship. "You just have to get on with it," the Manchester City goalkeeper said. "You've got to roll with it. There's always something going on." MORE

Bellamy captain for Speed memorial

Wales will be led out by Gary Speed's sons for tonight's game with Costa Rica as the country pays tribute to their former manager, who died in November. Craig Bellamy is captain, but injured skipper Aaron Ramsey will also be involved in the tributes. MORE

Cech refutes player power 'nonsense'

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech has dismissed reports of player unrest toward manager Andre Villas-Boas. "The truth is elsewhere and the picture [is] distorted," the Czech international said. "There is a lot of speculation and nonsense, but we live with it." MORE

Sick Murray grits teeth for victory

Andy Murray successfully reached the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Championships, but only after complaining of sickness in his first match since last month's Australian Open. The Scot beat Germany's Michael Berrer in three sets. MORE

McGeechan praises Lancaster sorties

Sir Ian McGeechan has praised the work of England caretaker coach Stuart Lancaster. "It looks as though he's put all the right things in place," the British and Irish Lions coach said. "Stuart had to put his own values out there. He's done that." MORE

Woods 'wanted to enlist in military'

Tiger Woods' former coach has claimed the American was ready to give up the sport for a military career as he struggled with injury. "Tiger was seriously considering becoming a Navy Seal," Hank Haney said. "When he talked, it was clear he had a plan." MORE

Morgan dropped for Sri Lanka tour

Eoin Morgan yesterday paid the price for his poor form on the tour of the United Arab Emirates after he was left out of the England squad for next month's trip to Sri Lanka. "He has got some work to do on his Test game," coach Andy Flower admitted. MORE

Psychiatrist gets cyclists geared up

Psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters has revealed the special "coping strategies" he has employed to help British cyclists deal with the pressure of this summer's Games. "What we've done as a team is say 'Wipe out the past, it's a level playing field'," he tells i. MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Tonight's game may have little relevance, but the odds are we will glimpse something enshrined in international football: the Netherlands, from Johan Cruyff to Dennis Bergkamp, retain a quality to threaten the world. MORE