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