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Pearce Promises Further England Pain

By Rob
Thursday 23rd February 2012
Many England fans were full of optimism for a new-look, exciting England team as the nation heads into this Summer's Euro 2012 following the departure of Fabio Capello earlier this month.

A new regime of youthful, hungry England players picked on their form and not their reputation, ideally spurred on by their German counterparts who performed so admirably at the last World Cup, seemed a genuine possibility.

Alas, our hope was crushed with the announcement of England's squad to face Holland in next week's friendly at Wembley. It was a case of 'same old, same old' as the likes of Stewart Downing and Theo Walcott, both horrendously out of form all season, somehow managed to steal their ways into the squad. Every England fan in the country would have picked the in-form, tricky and exciting young Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who has been brilliant for Arsenal since his introduction to the first team. Every England fan except the one man who counts, that is. Stuart Pearce.

Pearce's explanation for omitting Oxlade-Chamberlain was the youngster had "only played a handful of games." So what? He's guaranteed to do more than Downing and Walcott combined. Despite this, Pearce bizarrely decided to call up Fraizer Campbell in what almost seems like a sympathetic pat on the back for a guy who has had terrible injury problems, but come back to score 2 goals in 3 matches this season. That's right, 3 matches and 2 goals - and he gets selected for England. Even worse, this is a guy who has scored just 10 goals in 58 matches, of which only 5 goals were in the league, since 2008. Yet Chamberlain has been Arsenal's stand-out player in the league and in the Champions League for a couple of months, but "hasn't played enough." Go figure.

Speaking of his newly selected squad Pearce said: "My mentality going into this game and picking this squad is: what would I need to learn as a manager going into a major tournament in the summer?” And on that basis he left out Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand, which is probably fair enough. But considering that mantra, why has Pearce then selected Steven Gerrard, a well established international with 89 caps; Wayne Rooney, who is suspended for the first two matches of the tournament; Ashley Cole, who will walk into the left-back slot; Gareth Barry, whose midfield play is painfully predictable; and Joe Hart, who is the guaranteed first choice in goal. These selections seem pointless - almost as pointless as an international friendly at one of the busiest times of the season.

I hope Pearce uses the Holland match to give the likes of Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge, Leighton Baines and Tom Cleverley the chance to shine from the start in the Holland match, rather than sticking with the same old boring players.

His squad selection and strange justifications for his decisions do not bode well for the summer - especially given Pearce has now claimed he'd like the manager's job for the Euros. Wouldn't we all.

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