Scott Parker to captain England against Holland

 

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The Independent Online

Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker has been selected to captain England in tonight's friendly against the Netherlands.

Caretaker manager Stuart Pearce has selected the 31-year-old ahead of the favourite for the role, Steven Gerrard, and other contenders including Manchester City pair James Milner and Joe Hart.

It caps a remarkable turn around in fortunes for the reigning Footballer of the Year, who has played a major role for the national team following England's disastrous World Cup in South Africa, for which he wasn't selected.

It will be the first time Parker has captained the England team and comes a day after he was voted the England Player of the Year by fans after featuring in seven of England's nine games in 2011. In total the former West Ham captain has 10 England caps.

Pearce, who has been put in charge for tonight's re-arranged friendly with the Netherlands, refused to name his choice of captain during yesterday's press conference, instead wanting to reveal it an hour before kick-off. It is understood he told the players at a meeting this morning.

The former Manchester City manager did intimate that he had decided upon who would wear the armband some weeks ago. During the press conference, Pearce outlined some of the requirements for the role.

"When I bear in mind it might be a one-off scenario, the captain has got to be somebody who is in the starting line-up, somebody who's got the respect of the other players in my eyes and someone who is unselfish and puts the group above himself. That's a vital commodity as captain."

The issue of the England captaincy has been a major talking point since John Terry was controversially stripped of the armband by the FA due to his ongoing racism trial.

There is no suggestion that Pearce's decision to select Parker was influence by possible future England managers, but the decision to select a Tottenham player, where Harry Redknapp is manager, will not go unnoticed.

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