Why Stuart Pearce could be the right man for Arsenal job
Cut adrift by England, Pearce would be an interesting replacement for Pat Rice
FORMER England defender and coach of the Under-21 team, Stuart Pearce, has become the first casualty of Roy Hodgson's new Wembley regime, and has been told he is no longer needed as a member of the backroom staff for the senior England squad.
It is expected that Hodgson will replace him with Fulham first-team coach Ray Lewington. Hodgson and Lewington worked together at Craven Cottage and guided the Cottagers to the Europa League final in 2010.
Pearce, who was often the only English member of Capello's coaching team, will now concentrate on his role as manager of Team GB at this summer's Olympics and taking charge of the U-21 side. But having eaten at the top table for almost four years, will he be prepared to return to relative obscurity once the Olympics are over.
If he is looking for another challenging role then he could do worse than inquiring of Arsene Wenger if he is still looking for a replacement for Pat Rice, who is stepping down at the end of the season.
The Daily Mail reports today that one of Pearce's old England team mates and Arsenal stalwart, Tony Adams, has been told that he will not get the job, and the paper says Arsenal are keen to appoint from within. But Pearce could turn out to be the perfect replacement for Rice.
Adams was, and remains, an Arsenal legend, but he has failed to convince as a coach and manager. His shortlived spell at Portsmouth was a disaster and his last job was in the footballing backwater of Azerbaijan, with Gabala FC. Pearce on the other hand managed Nottingham Forest in the days when they were still a top flight club, and then survived more than two seasons at Manchester City.
Since then he has spent five years looking after the U-21 team and working closely with Capello. The Italian may have lost his aura but the experience he gained cannot have done Pearce any harm. In fact it is almost perfect experience for someone looking to take over as assistant at a major Premier League club.
Pearce and Wenger may have had their disagreements over the years, usually clashing over who is available for U-21 selection, but they also have plenty in common as well.
Wenger believes in youth, Pearce has spent the past five seasons nuturing it. Both have been influential in developing the career of Jack Wilshere, for example. Pearce would already be familiar with many of Arsenal youngsters, and not just the English ones, through his England job.
Finally, most experts agree that Arsenal have lacked a 'bad cop' in the backroom staff for some time. Who better than Pearce to play that role? If life under Wenger gets too cushy a few words from 'Psycho' would quickly get a player focused again. Rollickings are few and far between at the Emirates, but even a benign dictator needs an enforcer from time to time.
Pearce is committed to the U-21 team for the time being, but once the 2013 European Championships are out of the way he could take the role full time. In the meantime there is no reason he could not juggle both roles. He first took the U-21 job when he was Man City boss and for the last few months he has been manager of England, Team GB and the U-21s - he is obviously not afraid of hard work.
It might sound unlikely but Pearce and Wenger could be a combination that could help Arsenal flourish once again.