Stuart Pearce faces his first challenge as England manager when his wards take on Holland at Wembley in a friendly international on Wednesday, February 29, 2012. Pearce took temporary charge from Capello after the sudden departure of England’s former coach, some weeks ago. The game will give England an early idea about their team strength, ahead of the Euro 2012 tournament scheduled for later in the year.
England will miss Wayne Rooney among other big name players, while Holland will have the comfort of fielding a full-strength squad. While Harry Redknapp is widely expected to be Capello’s permanent replacement, there are observers who think Redknapp may be hired only for the Euro 12 competition.
Pearce has fallen back on a young squad for the Holland game and to that end has selected several players who featured for the England U21 squad with Pearce himself at the helm. In the absence of senior players like Carrick, Defoe, Lescott, Ferdinand and Lampard, the England manager has recruited youngsters like Campbell, Walker and Cleverly, for Wednesday’s game at Wembley. However, injury has laid low Cleverly and Walker, thereby posing a selection challenge for Pearce in his very first outing.
It is also not clear who will captain the side on the absence of Terry. Terry, who is nursing a knee injury, has already lost his captaincy and Gerrard could be the beneficiary who gets to wear the skipper’s black armband. With only two more internationals before Euro 12, England have a paucity of attacking playmakers, with both Barry and Parker defensive midfielders. However, the presence of players like Downing, Johnson, Young and Walcott gives Wednesday’s hosts a bit more comfort on the flanks.
Van Marwijk’s successful showing at Holland’s helm has earned him an extension of contract for four more years. Marwijk’s wards, who were runners up at FIFA 2010, have done brilliantly in the Euro qualifiers, winning 9 of 10 games. The Dutch have been placed in the Group of Death, at Euro 12, featuring Germany, Portugal and Denmark as the other three teams. However, with marquee names, like Van Persie (Arsenal’s prolific scorer), Huntelaar, De Jong, Robben and Sneijder in the squad, Holland are expected to do well in the group.
Holland are favourites to win the game but England will rely on home advantage to blunt their edge in what promises to be an intriguing contest on Wednesday.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.