England players could adapt to caretaker at Euro 2012 says Trevor Brooking


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The Independent Football

Trevor Brooking believes the England players will adjust to playing under a caretaker manager should the Football Association opt to go down that route for the Euro 2012 finals.

Brooking, the FA director of football development, has first-hand knowledge from dealing with such an experience in his early days as an England player.

He made his debut in the last match of Sir Alf Ramsey's reign but then played under stand-in boss Joe Mercer who enjoyed a seven-game run before making way for Don Revie.

Stuart Pearce was in charge for last month's friendly international with Holland and is willing to take charge for the Euros if appointing a permanent successor to Fabio Capello is delayed.

Brooking said: "When I started with England, Joe Mercer came in for a few games after Sir Alf left. But, when you play at international level you can cope with something like that.

"You are in a group of players you know well, you want to play well. Part of that under Joe was an end of season tour, a difference perhaps to a tournament like Euro 2012.

"But I've always felt you can have someone come in, if everything is in place, and take up the role pretty quickly because the quality of player you are working with can easily adapt."

Brooking is part of the four-man FA board who will decide Capello's replacement but he is reluctant to comment on how that search is developing.

He said: "We've always said we will wait until the latter part of the season and nothing has changed.

"It will be the back end of the season before something happens.

But Brooking does insist England need to increase the amount of home-grown talent playing Premier League football for the new national manager - whoever it is - to have a greater chance of success.

He admits the bright talent at Under-16 to Under-19 level needs more top-flight football if it is to flourish on the international stage.

Brooking said: "People say more young home-grown players are now making their mark in the Premier League but unfortunately it is a bit misleading because it is still the 35% figure for starting elevens.

"In the Under-16 to Under-19 bracket, we have got a good group of youngsters coming through with potential, a bit more imagination and creativity, showing a bit more in the attacking third.

"But there is still that frustration that the Under-18 and Under-19s are not playing as much first-team football as we would like.

"There are a few on loan to Football League clubs but you would want them playing in the top flight."

Brooking added: "If you compare us with Spain, where nearly 80% of the starting elevens in La Liga are Spanish players, you can see the Spanish national coach has twice as many players to choose from.

"We need to get that 35% figure up to 45%, 55%, and over 60% to give us more of a competitive chance in terms of the depth of choice."