Parker to captain England against the Netherlands
Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker will captain the national team for the first time Wednesday when England faces the Netherlands in a friendly at Wembley Stadium.
Parker was selected by interim England coach Stuart Pearce ahead of Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard. While Gerrard has made 89 international appearances, the 31-year-old Parker has made only 10 and has never played at a tournament.
''Congrats to Scott Parker on being named captain for tonights game,'' former England captain Rio Ferdinand, who is not in the squad, said on Twitter. ''A great honour + one I'm sure he'll cherish.''
The captaincy carries great weight in England, with Fabio Capello quitting as coach earlier this month after the FA stripped John Terry of the armband. Terry, who is injured, was stripped because of his upcoming criminal trial for racially abusing an opponent.
The armband was expected to return to Gerrard, who captained England at the 2010 World Cup, but the Liverpool midfielder has only just returned to the squad for the first time since November 2010 after injury problems.
Parker, who has re-established his place in the England squad in the last year after just missing out on a World Cup place, was voted England's player of 2011 in a poll of 15,000 fans.
He was confirmed as captain at a squad meeting on Wednesday morning, but the future of the England setup beyond the Netherlands match remains uncertain. Pearce, a former England captain himself, is hoping to stay in charge for the European Championship.
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, the leading contender to be appointed the permanent England coach, has already touted Parker as a possible international captain.
''Scott has captained the team here a couple of times this year and he is a fantastic boy, a great professional,'' said Redknapp, who signed Parker from West Ham in August. ''You couldn't get a better boy. He is a top-class person and a top-class player.''
Rob Harris can be reached at http://twitter.com/RobHarrisUK