Pearce: I’m not ready for England job
Stuart Pearce is focused on guiding England’s Under-21s into the European U21 Championships – and not the battle to succeed Fabio Capello.
England boss Capello will step down when his contract expires in summer 2012 and Pearce admits he currently lacks the experience to step up to the top job.
Earlier this week, the Football Association’s director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking suggested Steve McClaren – axed after the failure to reach Euro 2008 – could be a contender for the England job if he continues to impress at German side Wolfsburg following a successful spell in charge of FC Twente.
Pearce, 48, had a two-year stint in charge of Manchester City, which ended in May 2007.
The former Nottingham Forest and England defender has operated successfully in his role at the helm of the Under-21 team, taking the youngsters to the final of the 2009 European Championships, where they lost to Germany.
He now works closely with Capello, sitting on the bench for matches.
However, for the moment, getting a positive result from the first leg of Friday night’s qualifier against Romania at Carrow Road (kick-off 7.30pm) is the only thing on Pearce’s agenda.
"At this moment in time I feel I don’t have enough experience to be the England manager. I enjoy what I do, being in charge of the Under-21s and having the experience with the senior squad," Pearce said.
"That experience is getting enhanced day by day.
"In a year’s time I will be a better manager than I am today, that’s for sure."
Pearce continued: "The one thing I can assure you is that the words long-term and football don’t seem to go hand in hand these days.
"If I am still in charge of the Under-21s tomorrow night, I will be delighted."
Other than the players who were forced out of the squad through injury – Manchester City defender Micah Richards, Huddersfield goalkeeper Alex Smithies and Arsenal full-back Kieran Gibbs – Pearce has no fresh injury concerns.
Gunners midfielder Jack Wilshere has also been included in the senior group for Tuesday’s Euro 2012 qualifying tie against Montenegro at Wembley.
The 18-year-old could, though, yet be retained by Pearce for the second leg in Botosani.
"Jack has been named in the Under-21 and the senior squad and I will talk with Fabio today with respect to that," said Pearce.
"I would have thought the best decision is to wait until Friday pans itself out.
"Obviously if Fabio needs him the seniors take precedence, but if he feels he can stop with us to get another 90 minutes worth of experience on Tuesday then he will.
"But we will do what is best for the player – it is not for me or for Fabio, it’s for the player’s development."
Carrow Road is a 25,700 sell-out on Friday night, which represents the highest attendance at the Championship club since the stadium became all-seater in 1992.
Pearce is hoping the atmosphere will help lift his players.
"That is part of the reason we took the game to Norwich when we were hoping to be in the play-offs," he said.
"When we have come here before we have had crowds in excess of 20,000 and they have sold the stadium out for us, which is fantastic.
"It will be a big game for the country at this level."
Pearce, however, insisted there will be no complacency from his Young Lions.
"I would say it is a 50/50 swing in this game. They have won their group and we have finished runners-up," he said.
"It would be physically impossible for us to be complacent in a game of this magnitude.
"We feel it is going to be two very difficult matches for us.
"Romania are one of the strongest sides in Europe, so we know we have got our work cut out."