Pearce alerts England to lack of City contract

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The Independent Online

Stuart Pearce may not be the Football Association's first choice to succeed Sven Goran Eriksson but Manchester City's young manager revealed yesterday that he does not have a contract that would require the governing body to pay any compensation if it appointed him as England manager.

Pearce said that his relationship with the club's chairman, John Wardle, was so strong that he had not signed the deal that was offered to him in the summer which, was "not worth the paper it's written on" because of clauses written into it on his instruction. The former England international said that he had no desire to saddle City with a hefty compensation bill should they dismiss him.

"Bits of paper don't really mean a great deal to me," he said. "To shake the chairman's hand and look him in the eye and get an honest answer from him means a hell of a lot more. And I feel I have got that from John Wardle.

"I don't know anyone else who works in that way but it suits me. If this club don't want me to be their manager, I'm not going to stand around and argue with them about giving me a pay-off for this or that. I don't want their money.

"I'd say, 'You can keep your money and give it to the next manager to buy players and I hope the club do well'.

"Likewise, if I am to leave this football club anywhere down the line for whatever reason, I don't feel that because I walked through the door for nothing, it should be the case that club say we want £1m or £2m and handcuff me.

"If it works one way, it has got to work both ways. I honestly feel the relationship I have with the chairman, and the honesty and loyalty he has shown me in giving me this opportunity means a great deal more than paper."

With the FA facing a compensation bill that for Eriksson could reach anywhere up to £5m - depending on what employment the Swede finds after the World Cup finals - the option of getting Pearce for nothing would appeal. However, Pearce, who earns around £600,000 a year, remains behind Martin O'Neill in the order of preference of the FA hierarchy, who will speak to the City manager over the next month.

There are unlikely to be any surprises among Eriksson's England squad for the friendly at Anfield against Uruguay on Wednesday - announced today - although Charlton's striker Darren Bent is expected to keep his place. Ahead of the last friendly before he names his World Cup squad on 15 May, Eriksson said that he believed there would still be a place for Sol Campbell, currently injured, despite his recent problems.

"I talked to Sol and we discussed the World Cup. He wants to be there and I'm happy about that because a fit Sol Campbell is always very good to have on your side," Eriksson said. "He is a rock when he's physically fit and I think he'll do everything to be available for the World Cup. It might be his last World Cup as well as mine.

"The first thing is that he must start to play for Arsenal, otherwise I can't pick him. You can't gamble. You have to be quite sure they are fit. Otherwise you might end up with a big problem."

As well as Campbell, Kieron Dyer, Jonathan Woodgate, Ashley Cole, Alan Smith, Owen Hargreaves and Michael Owen are also all out injured.

Shaun Wright-Phillips has been told that he will have to play more games for Chelsea to make the team, but Peter Crouch should be in the squad.

"I am sure Shaun Wright-Phillips will be in the World Cup squad because I think he will play often for Chelsea," Eriksson said.

"He doesn't need to play every game but he must have a certain amount of games, otherwise it's difficult. Crouch will probably be in the squad. He's different and he's good to have on the pitch or on the bench," he said. "Then it's up to the other players to see who is the fourth one."