Brooking backs Stuart Pearce as Olympics coach

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The Independent Football

Sir Trevor Brooking thinks England Under-21 boss Stuart Pearce should be appointed as the head coach of the British football team at next year's London Olympics.

Pearce is currently in Denmark preparing his squad for the Under-21 European Championship, where they are ranked as one of the favourites.

After a mixed two-year spell at Manchester City, Pearce has rebuilt his managerial reputation with England's youngsters, taking them to the semi-finals of the 2007 European Championship before reaching the final two years later, only to lose to a star-studded Germany team.

His record in turning under-21 players like Jack Wilshere, Andy Carroll and James Milner into full internationals has led some to tip him to take over as England manager next year, but Brooking believes he has his eyes on the Olympic position.

The refusal of the associations of Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland to commit to the British team means that the squad is likely to comprise solely of English players, although Tottenham's Welsh winger Gareth Bale for one has indicated his desire to be involved.

With Olympic rules stating that only three over-23 players are allowed in each squad, Pearce has the advantage of having nurtured the development of most of the probable team and Brooking thinks that should mean he gets the role.

"I would like to support Stuart for the Olympics job because he knows all the players well," Brooking told Press Association Sport.

"Having been there over the last four years he would be ideally placed to get the best out of that group.

"He is respected by all the lads in the squad.

"They seemed very relaxed around him at the training camp last week.

"It's something I think we'll look at when he gets back from this tournament."

Brooking's role as the Football Association's director of football development has enabled him to watch Pearce's progression closely since he took the post in 2007.

He has been impressed with the way the former England left-back has developed the Under-21 team and thinks they will go far in Denmark.

"He has had two good tournaments and came close to winning both," Brooking said.

"This tournament will be good for him to have under his belt and he will want to go far and he has a really strong squad."

The other home associations are concerned that a British team at the Olympics could affect their status as independent nations within FIFA, even though football's world governing body insist that would not be the case.

Bale voiced his objection to the Football Association of Wales' policy last month, admitting that he would love to play in the men's team at London 2012.

A number of Scotland's top women players in the game are thought to have sought legal advice over their position with regards to taking part.

Brooking admits he would like to see all nations represented in the team but understands the associations' stance.

"Playing in front of a big London crowd in an Olympics would be an unforgettable experience, even if you are Northern Irish, Welsh or Scottish, but it's their decision," the 62-year-old said.

"I've always thought that it would be great for this tournament that the team would be British but it's for the different associations to decide."