Pearce given coaching role in new England regime

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The Independent Football

Stuart Pearce has accepted a role in Fabio Capello's backroom staff for England's senior team while continuing as coach of the Under-21s, the Football Association has confirmed.

Pearce, 45, has been suggested as an eventual England manager and his new position is a further indication of how highly he is regarded by the FA, with Sir Trevor Brooking expecting him to be given "useful exposure" at senior level.

He will be involved in planning ahead of all senior games and sit with the rest of the coaching staff in the England dug-out, starting at Wembley against Switzerland on Wednesday.

"It will be a fantastic opportunity and a great education for me," Pearce said. His priority will remain the Under-21s, who will be almost certain of a play-off to reach the 2009 European Championship if they beat the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday.

He will then join up with the seniors immediately after the game at St Mary's and will be part of the coaching staff for the friendly against the Swiss the following day.

With the Under-21s not playing another qualifier until September, Pearce can work with the seniors for the duration of their two end-of-season friendlies.

"I'm looking forward to being involved with the senior team as much as possible and the friendlies at the end of the season will give me a great opportunity to work with Fabio and his coaching team," Pearce added. The former Manchester City manager has impressed since taking over from Peter Taylor as Under-21 coach and the only defeat he has suffered was on penalties at the European Championship in the summer. He was then given the Under-21 job on a full-time basis, an all-encompassing role that also involves looking at youth development strategy.

Capello described the former England international's new role as a "key position" around his team, and he also provides a homegrown flavour to his staff. "From the start I made it clear to everyone that I wanted an English coach as part of my coaching team," said the Italian. "I have spoken with Trevor Brooking and Stuart Pearce about this at length and I'm very happy that Stuart is working with me.

"This is very important as Stuart has a lot of experience and understanding of English football. He understands what I am looking to achieve and how I want to work.

"I believe it is crucial that both of us have a close working partnership to get the best for both the England team and Under-21s.

"As well as being involved in all of the planning ahead of games, he will sit next to me on the bench during the matches and have a key position around the team. There will also be opportunities at the end of the season when the Under-21s and seniors are not playing at the same time when Stuart can be with us at all times. This is very good because I want him to play an important role in the coaching sessions with Italo Galbiati and myself."

Brooking, the FA director of football development, added: "Fabio Capello has always been keen to have an Englishman involved in his coaching staff. Stuart's experience of international football as a player and his success with the Under-21s makes him ideal for the role and will give him some useful exposure to the coaching set-up of the senior team."

Pearce will be at St Mary's today to announce his Under-21 squad, where the focus will be whether the likes of Gabriel Agbonlahor or Theo Walcott are included, as a provisional squad for the Switzerland match will also be revealed. Capello will then confirm a final squad on Saturday.

Jamie O'Hara and Giles Barnes have been on Pearce's radar for the Under-21s after recently featuring for Tottenham Hotspur and Derby County respectively in the Premier League. The Manchester City midfielder Michael Johnson is injured.

* Poland and Ukraine were told by the Uefa president Michel Platini yesterday to speed up their preparations for Euro 2012. Platini did not go as far as saying the countries risked losing the right to stage the tournament but said: "I have the distinct feeling that the next four to six months will be crucial in order to avoid any critical slippage in sports and public infrastructure projects and to protect the global credibility of the Euro project itself."