Confusion reigns as Stuart Pearce set to pick England's Euro 2012 squad

Olympics manager also ready to make selection on 10 May as he prepares to be the man in charge

The air of uncertainty and confusion surrounding England's troubled preparation for the European Championship heightened yesterday when Stuart Pearce unexpectedly revealed he is planning to name the squad on 10 May, three days before the end of the domestic season.

While the Football Association believes it will still appoint a permanent replacement for Fabio Capello before the second week in May, Pearce is preparing as if he will be the man who takes charge of England this summer and so is working on a squad for the finals. Pearce has pushed the FA to decide the 23-strong party ahead of the end of the Premier League campaign so players know as early as possible if they are required this summer.


Get Adobe Flash player


The FA insists it is necessary to have a contingency plan in place if it is unable to appoint a new manager in time, but Pearce's announcement at Wembley yesterday – where he attended the draw for the Olympic football tournament in which he will manage Great Britain – increases the sense that Pearce could still be in charge come June.

It also raises the possibility that if a manager is appointed after 10 May, he would be left with a squad he did not pick, although the FA maintain that remains an unlikely scenario. "Whether it's me taking the squad or someone else, the planning is totally done," said Pearce.

Naming a final list of players at such an early stage is unusual. The Champions League final is on 19 May and Uefa's squad deadline is 10 days after that. Capello chose an initial 30-strong party for the World Cup before reducing it to his final choice. "The players need to know," insisted Pearce. "The date has to be before the end of the Premier League season for all concerned."

Meanwhile, Pearce said that all players will be treated equally when it comes to deciding his 18-strong squad for the Olympics, in which he will manage Great Britain's first appearance for 52 years. None will be left out to satisfy club managers' demands, none will be included to satisfy any national demands, and no one will be selected because he is called David Beckham. Selection, said Pearce, is entirely down to form and fitness.

Pearce will, though, give Beckham the courtesy of a near-10,000-mile round trip to watch the former England captain play for LA Galaxy in Seattle.

To date Pearce has been relying on DVDs of Galaxy games to gauge Beckham's form as he mulls over whether the 36-year-old is worthy of one of the three over-age places available. Britain have been drawn against a Uruguay side likely to include Luis Suarez, Senegal (possibly with Demba Ba and Papiss Cissé), and the UAE.

"Form and fitness will dictate the make-up of the squad," said Pearce after the draw yesterday. "David falls into the same category. I have a duty of care to the Great Britain squad to try and win a gold medal. I will pick the strongest possible squad I can.

"I will know a bit more when I go to the States to see what form [Beckham] is in. He's made the shortlist and he has been a great ambassador for this country and the Olympics, but that's no recommendation that he will get in the squad, and that's fair and square across the board for all players."

Pearce's final choice will not be well received around a number of Premier League clubs, whose seasons begin the week after the Games. Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsène Wenger have already voiced objections to their players being involved. Jack Wilshere is on the 80-strong long list – it will be whittled down to 18 by mid-May – and Wenger would not welcome the midfielder's involvement.

"I can't change that attitude," said Pearce. "If I make one selection proviso for one manager then I have to do it for all of them. The most important thing to me is my duty of care to Great Britain to win a gold medal. I've a good relationship with Arsène. He has a duty of care to his players, I have a duty of care to Great Britain.

"We will look at everyone individually and check their fitness and the medical people will speak with the clubs. But once the tournament starts, excitement will be generated and people will see the greater good it will do for the individual players and the feelgood factor it brings. Plus we will be returning the players to their clubs before the season starts, so all they will be missing are pre-season friendlies.

"If I was a player, I would much prefer to be playing at Old Trafford, Wembley and the Millennium Stadium, competing for a medal and then going back to my club. The lift that would give me would be fantastic."

Britain's women were given the plum draw of Brazil. Hope Powell's side will face the Beijing silver medallists at Wembley on 31 July – after kicking off the Games against New Zealand on 25 July in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, two days before the opening ceremony.

"It gives us an opportunity to showcase the sport and raise the profile of women's football," said Powell, whose side will also meet Cameroon.

Team GB schedules


Group A GB, Senegal, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay

Team GB fixtures

Thursday 26 July Senegal (Old Trafford, 7.45pm)

Sunday 29 July UAE (Wembley, 7.45pm)

Wednesday 1 August Uruguay (Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, 7.45pm)

Quarter-finals 4 August; Semi-finals 7 August; Bronze medal match 10 August; Gold medal match 11 August

One to watch Neymar (Brazil)

Santos forward, 20, has caught the attention of Europe's big guns and won Fifa award for best goal of 2011.


Group A GB, New Zealand, Cameroon, Brazil

Team GB fixtures

Wednesday 25 July New Zealand (Millen'm Stadium, 4pm)

Saturday 28 July Cameroon (Millen'm Stadium, 2.30pm)

Tuesday 31 July Brazil (Wembley, 7.45pm)

Quarters 3 August; Semis 6 August; Bronze & Gold matches 9 August.

One to watch Marta (Brazil)

The five-time World Player of the Year, 26, helped Brazil to silver in both the 2004 and 2008 Games.

Coe: We'll have empty seats at the football

Sebastian Coe has conceded that the Olympic football tournament may not sell out. Coe, chairman of the London organising committee, said that more than a million tickets have already been sold for the men's and women's football competitions, but the prospect of matches such as Gabon v Switzerland filling all 52,000 seats at St James' Park in Newcastle remains improbable.

"They are big venues," said Coe yesterday. "I've never said we are expecting to sell out every stadium for every game."

Coe also said there are no plans yet to fill grounds by giving tickets away to local schools or sports clubs. Fans, though, are likely to be able to buy tickets on the day for some matches.

Ticket sales have dogged the organisers, in part due to huge demand for other sports, and the failure to have football tickets ready to go on sale yesterday was another blot in the copybook.

Robin Scott-Elliot

Olympic news you may have missed...

American athletics is mourning the death of LeRoy Walker, the first black US Olympic team coach.

The 93-year-old led the men's athletics squad in the Montreal Games of 1976 and also worked with teams from Ethiopia, Israel, Jamaica, Kenya and Trinidad & Tobago during his career.

What's coming up...

Tomorrow-Sunday William Fox-Pitt takes part in the Kentucky Three-Day equestrian event as overall leader in an event he won in 2010.

Friday-Sunday Gymnastics' Osijek Grand Prix includes a British team of four, led by Daniel Purvis.

Who's up?

David Webb Marathon runner admitted yesterday he took "a bit of a gamble" in missing the London event. He will still run at the Games because rival Lee Merrien failed to run the required time.

Who's down?

Senegal football Down to earth after qualification for Games – bank accounts are frozen in a dispute with a former coach.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
Life and Style
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions