Representing a clean break from the previous list of captains under Fabio Capello, caretaker manager Stuart Pearce appointed Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker to captain the English National Team for today’s friendly against the Netherlands, set to kick off this afternoon at Wembley Stadium.
Parker, who was sent off with a red card on Sunday’s matchup with Arsenal, will earn his eleventh cap against a strong Dutch side that were finalists in the 2010 World Cup. He will look to capitalize on his Man of the Match performance against world champion Spain in November.
If Parker resumes the role he carved out for himself under Capello, look for him to be the anchor as a holding midfielder, distributing the ball around the pitch. He’s not a scorer, and usually doesn’t get the touch on the ball to provide the assist, but is consistently in the mix in building towards a goal. His appointment as captain is sure to please his manager, and current favorite to become manager of the England team this summer, Harry Redknapp.
Pearce and Parker will look to stabilize an England team in crisis, surrounded by scandal. With only one friendly between now and late-May, just a few weeks before EURO 2012 kicks off, Parker will now be the face of the team until a permanent manager (whether it be Redknapp of otherwise) is in place.
Pearce said yesterday, outlining what he wants out of a captain in the unique situation he is in, “When I bear in mind it might be a one-off scenario, the captain has got to be somebody who is in the starting line-up, somebody who’s got the respect of the other players in my eyes and someone who is unselfish and puts the group above himself. That’s a vital commodity as captain.” That quote indeed names Parker as much as anyone in the squad.
Today’s match against the Netherlands kicks off at 7:45 local time, 2:45 Eastern at Wembley Stadium, and is available on Fox Soccer Channel.