Pearce missed chance to sign Walcott for £3m

Stuart Pearce, the Manchester City manager, has admitted that he blew the chance to sign the England striker Theo Walcott for just £3m last summer.

Walcott, 17, travelled to England's World Cup training camp in Portugal yesterday after his unexpected inclusion in Sven Goran Eriksson's 23-man squad last week. The Arsenal striker sneaked into the national squad despite failing to make a first-team appearance for the Gunners since his £12m January switch from Southampton.

But Pearce admitted that he could have signed Walcott for a fraction of the fee Arsenal paid for him had he listened to the City first-team coach and the former Southampton head coach, Steve Wigley.

"When Steve came to City last summer, he told me about this kid he had worked with at Southampton and it was Theo Walcott," Pearce said. "Steve said that he would pay £3m for the kid tomorrow if he had the chance. I asked if he could come straight into the first team, but he said he didn't know.

"He reckoned that we would have to wait a little bit for him like most young players, so I looked at it with some surprise that he put a £3m tag on a player that hadn't even made the Southampton side. The fact that he has now gone to Arsenal for many millions and broken into the England squad shows me that Steve Wigley has an eye for a player. Do I wish I had taken Steve's advice? Definitely, yes."

Pearce admits that he is still keen to take Shaun Wright-Phillips back to City - 12 months after selling the winger to Chelsea for £21m.

Wright-Phillips was not named in England's World Cup squad after a disastrous season at Stamford Bridge, but Pearce admits that he faces a battle to tempt Jose Mourinho to allow him out on loan.

Pearce said: "Of course I would like to take Shaun back on loan. I enquired about him in January, but Chelsea hold his contract and they make the decisions on Shaun."

Pearce also revealed that he has no plans to join the England coaching set-up once Steve McClaren takes over from Eriksson. Pearce had been one of the early contenders to succeed the Swede once the World Cup finals were over.

And when the former Brazil manager, Luiz Felipe Scolari, emerged as the man most likely to be appointed it was understood that Pearce was being lined up as his assistant and potential successor. But when Scolari ruled himself out Middlesbrough's McClaren was appointed instead.

McClaren has yet to finalise his own coaching team but Pearce said that he would be too busy trying to revive City's flagging fortunes next season to have any spare time for the national side. "I don't expect to part of the England set-up after the World Cup. I have my hands full at City at the moment. It is a massive club and I need to put all my time and effort into that. You can never rule anything out but at this moment I do not think there is an opportunity there for me.

"Steve will pick the team he needs around him and I'm sure he will get it right, whoever he picks."

Pearce is backing England or Brazil to win the World Cup and has tipped Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard to be in contention for the top scorer's award.

"My head tells me Brazil, my heart England and my eyes say Lampard and Gerrard," he said. "England's chances are good as there is enough ability in depth to have a good run. The fact that it is in Europe is also in our favour."

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power