Pearce - Captaincy the pinnacle
Stuart Pearce says the chance to lead out England is the greatest honour that can be bestowed on a player as he prepares to name his skipper.
Last Updated: 29/02/12 8:03am
Stuart Pearce believes the opportunity to lead out England is the greatest honour that can be bestowed on a player and it is not a decision he has taken lightly as he prepares to announce the skipper for Wednesday's match against Holland.
Caretaker manager Pearce has had to select a new captain for the Wembley clash after John Terry was stripped of the armband at the start of February.
He revealed at a press conference on Tuesday that he had made his mind up a couple of weeks ago, although the identity of the chosen man will remain a mystery until hours before kick-off.
Steven Gerrard remains the overwhelming favourite, with James Milner, Scott Parker and Joe Hart also having their backers.
While Pearce has been accused of unnecessary prevarication over confirming his choice of captain, he insists it is solely because he wants to get the decision right.
Whoever it is, Pearce is adamant the occasion will have special significance.
"Captaining England was the proudest moment of my career," he said. "If I feel that in my heart I can't take the decision lightly.
"I can only view it as I see it. When you play for your country that is the true pinnacle of anyone's career. That is still the case."
Duty of care
Gerrard - who will win his 90th cap - has not played for England since the friendly defeat by France in November 2010, and Pearce is looking forward to welcoming him back into the fold.
"For a player of Steven's ability to be away from the international stage for that long is a shame," Pearce said.
"He is as good as it gets in this nation - both what he does on the pitch and how he is around the camp. We are pleased to have him back."
Pearce confirmed he had spoken to Kenny Dalglish about the Liverpool talisman but no agreement was in place, for Gerrard or anyone else, about the amount of time they would be expected to play for.
"I have a duty of care to all the players," Pearce said.
"If I am putting them on the pitch and they are only half fit, that has to be detrimental to us.
"But I would fully expect Steven to play. He has not been on an international football pitch for a long time. It would be folly for a player of his quality not to figure in a game of this magnitude."