Pearce keen to be a part of Harry's game

Mutual admiration of caretaker coach and manager-elect can drive England

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Keen as he may be to take England to the European Championship finals should the opportunity present itself, Stuart Pearce has publicly endorsed the outstanding qualities of the man who extended his playing career by two years and remains a firm favourite to be appointed on a permanent basis.

Harry Redknapp first tried to sign the Nottingham Forest full-back for West Ham in the summer of 1997, but was pipped by Newcastle United, who could offer the lure of Champions' League football.

Two seasons later, having fallen out of favour with the Magpies' manager at the time, Ruud Gullitt, Pearce was preparing to see out his contract by coaching at the club's academy when Redknapp rang to say he wanted him fit and ready to play against Tottenham on the following Saturday.

"They're outstanding, his man-management skills," Pearce said on Friday. "I worked with Harry for two years. He was very supportive towards me and I enjoyed my time with him. The feedback you get from all the players is that they enjoy his management style and he makes everyone feel important.

"I think Harry has all the same traits as all good managers, if I'm being honest. Brian Clough had it. Bill Shankly had it. Sir Alex Ferguson's got it. All the good managers who are successful have that ability to build their players up and give their players confidence. That's why they're successful."

Redknapp had described him in turn as "a great player, a true competitor and real leader". Now they are likely to end up working together again, for Pearce admits he would be bitterly disappointed to be left out of the senior team set-up after assisting Fabio Capello for three years.

He has proved a useful link between the Under-21 squad and the seniors, and believes strongly that in all countries there should be a similar connection between the two.

"I think it's natural for progression, you are bringing a clutch of players through with you that know your face and are comfortable around you, and obviously the education of that Under-21 manager, as I've found out over the last four years, has been fundamental to me being involved with Fabio and his staff. It's common sense."

Now Pearce has to hope that sense will prevail and that his involvement with the senior side will not effectively end after the friendly on Wednesday against a strong Holland squad that includes seven Premier League players.

England v Holland is on ITV1 on Wednesday, kick-off 8pm

Psycho's therapy for England

Stuart Pearce has been the England Under-21 manager for five years and has taken them to the past three European Championship finals. Of the 25 players he named for the game against Holland, only the seven oldest, plus Wayne Rooney – who was promoted straight to the senior squad – did not play for him at that level.

So he could field a side composed entirely of his protégés – with Scott Carson, Kyle Walker, Chris Smalling, Tom Cleverley, Adam Johnson and Fraizer Campbell on the bench.