England news

Scott Parker to captain England

The completion of a remarkable return to favour

ESPNsoccernet staff

Stuart Pearce has given the England captain's armband to Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker for the friendly against Netherlands, according to ESPN sources.

Parker, 31, has impressed since moving to Spurs in the summer and was named the England Player of the Year, in an award voted for by fans. He is something of a surprise choice, though, as the returning Steven Gerrard had been expected to take charge of the side on the pitch after the withdrawl of John Terry through injury. The combative midfielder was sent off at the weekend against Arsenal, meaning that he will miss Spurs' next game against Manchester United.

The FA have so far refused to confirm the reports but it would continue a remarkable transformation for Parker. Axed from Fabio Capello's provisional World Cup squad without playing in either of the two warm-up matches, Parker's international career appeared to be at an end. However, when he was handed an unexpected chance in Denmark last February, he has not looked back.

Although it has been claimed the entire captaincy issue is over-rated, Pearce disagreed on Tuesday. "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.''

© PA

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