Stuart Pearce to make history with team selection

Pearce aiming for double winners as he makes history with team selection

Stuart Pearce will create history on Wednesday when he becomes the first manager to pick two England teams on the same day.

Aside from taking charge of the senior team for the friendly against Holland, he will also select the side for the Under 21s’ crucial Euro 2013 qualifier against Belgium at Middlesbrough.

Brian Eastick, overseeing preparations in the absence of Under 21 boss Pearce, will take charge of affairs at the Riverside. But he will not speak to Pearce during the course of the game, even though it is feasible as it kicks off at 6pm, two hours before the senior side.

Decisions: Stuart Pearce will manage the seniors but also select the U21 team, which will be watched over by Brian Eastick

Decisions: Stuart Pearce will manage the seniors but also select the U21 team, which will be watched over by Brian Eastick

Decisions: Stuart Pearce will manage the seniors but also select the U21 team, which will be watched over by Brian Eastick

ENGLAND U21

(probable, 4-2-3-1): Butland; Kelly, Dawson, Caulker,
Bennett; Henderson, Gardner; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lansbury, Zaha;
Sordell.

TV: LIVE on ESPN from 5.30pm (kick-off 6pm).

Pearce, poised to hand an Under 21 debut to Crystal Palace’s highly rated forward Wilfried Zaha, has been in regular contact with the squad since they met up on Sunday, yet Eastick is adamant his colleague will not be distracted.

‘Stuart will be focused on trying to win a game for England against Holland,’ he said. ‘But he will be on the phone to me in the morning. There will be discussions. The England Under 21 team is Stuart’s team. I am purely the caretaker.

‘He will listen to my observations on how things have gone over the three days and then he will say, “I want this to be the team”.’

Though Pearce’s promotion through the FA ranks has been greeted with some scepticism, Eastick believes he has the credentials to become Fabio Capello’s permanent successor.

First steps: Phil Neville has taken up a coaching role with the U21s

First steps: Phil Neville has taken up a coaching role with the U21s

‘I like to think he will be a future England manager,’ said Eastick. ‘If he were Dutch or German, the public perception would be that he should have the job. If there isn’t an England manager appointed before the Euros, he would be the best person to take the squad there.’

Everton captain Phil Neville has spent the last three days observing and helping the Under 21 coaching staff but the former national team defender will not have any input during a game in which an England win would all but guarantee their place in the play-offs.

Eastick said: ‘Phil is very much in the learning process but he is the type of player we should be encouraging into the coaching system. He has been very enthusiastic.’