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James Milner, above, says caretaker manager Stuart Pearce can handle the pressure of coaching England.
James Milner, above, says caretaker manager Stuart Pearce can handle the pressure of coaching England.

James Milner backs Stuart Pearce for England's Euro assignment

Manchester City's James Milner says caretaker coach Stuart Pearce should be given a chance to prove that he has the right skills to be England's coach.

Winger James Milner said Stuart Pearce has all the right credentials to lead England into the Euro 2012 finals if chosen by the Football Association board.

Milner has first-hand experience of Pearce's qualities and was impressed with his preparations from working under him for two European Championship finals as England Under-21 coach.

Pearce will be in charge for Wednesday's friendly international with Holland at Wembley Stadium and has said he would be willing to lead his country in Poland and Ukraine as Fabio Capello's replacement.

Milner said: "The timing is not as ideal as you would want, changing manager so close to a major tournament, but we will go in as well prepared as we can be.

"If Stuart Pearce is manager for the Euros it is not a problem for me. He is a great manager, was a great player. We should have won at least one of them, but what I noticed was that in the tournaments I had under him, we went in very well prepared.

"He thinks about every aspect which could come up in a tournament, every eventuality, how we are going to have to play, and how to plan for combating certain teams.

"That's the most important thing going into a tournament, you want to feel you are ready and that it is not going to be a problem."

Milner has been touted as a possible captain against the Dutch and the Manchester City player said: "I think, when you grow up as a kid, you dream one day you might be England captain.

"I've been lucky enough to play in a World Cup, so to be captain would be a great honour. We have got more than enough leaders in the squad and, whoever is named as captain, they are not going to be there on their own. That's what every successful team needs, more than one leader. One player will wear the armband but you need six, seven, eight leaders to be vocal, and lead with their actions."

Meanwhile, Stewart Downing will exert any influence he can on Steven Gerrard to persuade the Liverpool captain not to abandon England after Euro 2012.

After suffering so many muscular injuries throughout his career, Gerrard has raised the prospect of quitting the international scene in an effort to prolong his Liverpool career, but Downing is not taken by the idea.

"Steven certainly still has a lot to offer England," said the former Middlesbrough and Aston Villa winger.

"You have seen the lift he has given the players at Liverpool when he came back from injury.

"I would be selfish and say I hope he plays on.

* Press Association

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