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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

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Pearce to step in as caretaker coach

Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce will take control of the senior England team on a temporary basis for February's friendly against Netherlands as the FA begins its search for a successor for Fabio Capello.

• Brewin: No backward glances for Fabio
• Pardew: England job not for me
• Capello exit makes waves in Italy
• Capello resigns as England boss
• Wilshere 'gutted' over Fabio exit

Capello, whose contract was due to expire after this summer's European Championships, surprisingly chose to quit his post as England manager on Wednesday following a disagreement with the FA regarding the decision to strip John Terry of the captaincy for a second time.

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is the clear favourite to be appointed on a permanent basis and the decision to appoint Pearce in a caretaker role would allow the 65-year-old, who was cleared of tax evasion charges this week, to see out the season with Spurs before taking over as Three Lions boss.

FA chairman David Bernstein said: "I can announce that Stuart Pearce will manage the England team against Holland.

"He has huge experience outside and inside the organisation. He has been working with the under-21 team and has been working with Fabio for some time. I have got great confidence in Stuart, we will be in good hands.

"Our priority then will be to appoint a new England manager.''

After the game against Netherlands at Wembley on February 29, the new manager will have just two friendlies to work with ahead of Euro 2012, against Norway on May 26 and Belgium on June 2. The first competitive match will be against France, in Donetsk, on June 11.

Redknapp still has 15 months to run on his contract at White Hart Lane and it is thought that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy will fight to keep hold of the man who led his side to the Champions League for the first time in their history in 2010, and is well placed to do so once more this season.

Spurs boss Redknapp also claims he has paid no attention to the vacant England post.

"I've not even thought about it. I've got a job to do. I've got a big game on Saturday for Tottenham," Redknapp said on Thursday. "Tottenham is my focus... They [the Football Association] will make whatever decision they want to make. Hopefully it'll be the right decision for the country but my focus is all on Tottenham."

Bernstein was keen not to get drawn into speculation over who could replace Capello in the long term, but promised the FA would act as swiftly as possible.

"I'm not going to go into discussions on individuals,'' he said. "We will do this as quickly and sensibly as we can but don't want to rush the process. We want to to it properly, do it professionally.

"We will put a shortlist together of key people. We will do it as soon as we can. It will be a major priority for us.''

Bernstein also said during Thursday's Wembley press conference that the next England manager will ideally be English but would not rule out the possibility of appointing a third manager from overseas.

"No, he will not definitely be English," Bernstein said. "Clearly there's a preference for an Englishman. The position hasn't changed.

"There's a preference for an English person or a British person but in the end we want the best person. So I'm not prepared to rule out anything at this stage.

"Clearly an English or British person would have a good start on the matter.''

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