Stuart Pearce tells England players to put country before clubs

Be Lionhearts! Now put England before your clubs, Pearce tells players

Stuart Pearce has promised that
England will come first under his leadership and challenged his players
to do the same to secure their international futures.

The caretaker England boss warned
clubs there will be no deals struck about who plays for how long in the
friendly against Holland at Wembley.

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The man in the middle: Stuart Pearce leads his troops across the hallowed Wembley turf

The man in the middle: Stuart Pearce leads his troops across the hallowed Wembley turf

Pearce will select two England teams in a matter of hours as he will also decide who plays for the Under 21s against Belgium in Middlesbrough.

And Pearce, who has declared himself available to manage the senior team at Euro 2012, has made it clear what he expects from his team.

Passion: Pearce has called for England to show some pride

Passion: Pearce has called for England to show some pride

He said: 'When you play for your country that is the true pinnacle of anyone’s career. I think that is still the case for players.

'When I get asked the question about my proudest moment it is not playing in the Champions League it is playing for England and captaining England.'

Wearing his heart on his sleeve: Pearce shows his delight after ending his penalty heartache against Spain in Euro 96

Wearing his heart on his sleeve: Pearce shows his delight after ending his penalty heartache against Spain in Euro 96

Pearce will reveal the team and the captain today and expects Steven Gerrard to play some part for the first time since 2010, when he was injured in a friendly against France.

It sparked an angry reaction from Liverpool’s coaching staff, who thought they had an agreement for Gerrard to play no more than 45 minutes.

Back in the fold: Gerrard (left) is expected to feature

Back in the fold: Gerrard (left) is expected to feature

'There won’t be any agreements with the clubs,' said Pearce. 'They know I have a duty of care to the country and a duty of care to the players. If I put them on the pitch and they’re only half-fit, that’s detrimental to the country.

'We’ve taken care of them but we need them to be at full tilt when they play for their country. A lot of the players had extra time on Sunday. We gave them a recovery day on Monday and the option to drop out of the small-sided game today to make sure their legs are in place. There are no excuses really.'

Issuing the orders: Pearce

Issuing the orders: Pearce

Glen Johnson became the fifth player to pull out of Pearce’s squad through injury.

Joleon Lescott was called up and the caretaker boss told his players: 'Go and play and show us your ability. You’re fighting for a place in a major finals this summer.'