New England boss Roy Hodgson tells Stuart Pearce he is no longer required
ENGLAND ROY Hodgson has made the first big decision of his new England regime by telling Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce he is no longer required as part of the backroom staff around the senior team.
The former England defender, who took the team on a caretaker basis for the friendly against the Netherlands in February, has been a member of the England set-up since Fabio Capello took over in January 2008. However, he has been told he must now concentrate on his responsibilities as England Under-21s coach and manager of the British Olympic team at the London Games. Pearce met with Hodgson at Wembley on Tuesday to discuss his future role.
It is expected that Ray Lewington, Hodgson's assistant when he was manager of Fulham, will be brought into the England staff as first-team coach. Hodgson is likely to appoint one younger coach whom he has not worked with before and another longer-term acquaintance – Lewington – and may also take a coach on secondment for Euro 2012.
There is a feeling at the Football Association that the Olympics and the Under-21s give Pearce more than enough to do already. Hodgson will also need a fitness coach to replace Massimo Neri from the Capello regime. It is possible that, unlike his predecessor, he will not bring in a new goalkeeping coach, preferring to stick with Ray Clemence who is already at the FA. On Tuesday he spent the day at Wembley meeting as many as possible of the FA staff with direct responsibilities to the senior team.
Pearce has been part of the FA set-up since February 2007 when he was appointed Under-21s coach while still manager of Manchester City. He reached the European Under-21 Championship semi-final in that same year and the final of the competition two years later. He was the FA's fall-back option for Euro 2012 if they were unable to appoint a manager.
Hodgson will give his usual press conference at West Bromwich Albion's Great Barr training ground ahead of Sunday's game away against Bolton Wanderers. However, he will not be talking about his new job with England. Hodgson also decided not to attend the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year award last night at the Lancaster Gate Hotel in central London.
Meanwhile, Harry Redknapp, who missed out on becoming England manager, will be a television pundit for the European Championships. The Tottenham manager has accepted a role with the BBC and will be part of their team headed by Gary Lineker.
Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, has backed Rio Ferdinand to return to the England squad for the European Championships, despite the controversy over John Terry's forthcoming trial for allegedly racially abusing Ferdinand's brother, Anton.
"He has done fantastic this season," Ferguson said. "There was a period where I played him in three games in seven days from the end of January but apart from that it has been every seven days. He has coped very well and has had a fantastic season. I don't know if Roy's thinking about the situation because I haven't spoken to him but experience is going to be important in the European Championships."