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Feb 23, 2012

Door not closed to Rio & Lampard

England's caretaker coach Stuart Pearce insists the door is not closed to the likes of Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand, after they were left out of the squad to take on Netherlands on Wednesday.

• Pearce calls on Richards and Campbell

Pearce, who is in charge of England following the resignation of Fabio Capello, named a squad that included one or two surprise names on Thursday, not least Sunderland's Fraizer Campbell. However, there was no place for some of the nation's elder statesman, although Ashley Cole, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney do feature.

Asked if anything should be read into the exclusion of Ferdinand and Lampard, Pearce quipped: "They won't be playing Wednesday!

"Can you read beyond that? No. The way I'm approaching this is, 'What do I need to learn as a manager for a major tournament? What does a manager looking from afar need to learn?'

"I know Frank, John Terry, others, I wouldn't learn anything Wednesday evening - whereas I can learn about some of the others.

"Steven [Gerrard] hasn't been in the squad since 2010, so I'm told, which is too long for a player of his ability. Wayne Rooney, with his suspension, it's important that he's on the international pitch playing games."

The current England vacancy is seemingly in no danger of being filled in the immediate future, with popular choice Harry Redknapp insisting he will at least see out the season with Tottenham. Pearce, who is England Under-21 coach and Team GB coach at the London 2012 Olympics, admits he would happily lead England into Euro 2012 if asked to do so by the FA.

"I'm managing on a one-match basis," Pearce said. "I'm more than happy to take the team to the Finals, I've told the FA that. I'll decide the captain [for the Euros] if I'm involved, but for now I'm selecting the captain for one match.

"I've no idea [if I'll be in charge]. What I will say is that it helps the Under-21 players that I'm also involved in the senior setup - and that's a formula that should be echoed around the world. I'm available and have tournament experience if they need me. I've not fluffed around it, I've not said I'm not sure, I've told them I'll do it with pleasure.

"Beyond that, I consider myself the Team GB manager at the Olympics."

Addressing his selection of the uncapped Campbell, in addition to Tom Cleverley and Micah Richards, Pearce challenged the trio to use Wednesday's friendly as a chance to stake a claim for a place at Euro 2012.

"I know Frazier quite well because I've taken the majority of these boys to Under-21 tournaments," Pearce explained. "I spoke to Martin [O'Neill] the other day and he spoke very highly of him. He's lifted Sunderland since returning from injury. He'll thrive by coming into this environment."

Turning to Cleverley, Pearce continued: "Again, I've been to a major Championships with him, he started the season fantastically well, after which it's been stop-start with injuries. United have played him centrally and he's flourished. They talk highly of him and he's got a bright future.

"I gave [Micah] his debut as a club player, he's done extremely well this year, holding his place in a Man City team - that's not easy; it'll be interesting for him and it's important that we nurture these talents. He's one of those where, if you wind the clock back, the media were talking about him being a 100-cap England player.

"We're on the home run for the tournament and it's important we see if these players can handle it."

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