Hernia op ends talk of Vassell England call
Stuart Pearce has confirmed Manchester City's intention to send Darius Vassell for an operation on his long-standing hernia problem next week.
With Wayne Rooney now almost certain to miss at least the start of the World Cup, speculation has been mounting about Sven-Goran Eriksson's possible replacement for the Manchester United star.
Vassell has been tipped in some quarters and, having impressed under Eriksson during the last tournament in the Far East four years ago, it seems plausible the England coach could select the City striker when he names his expanded 26-man squad on Monday.
However, Pearce has cast doubt on that theory, admitting there had been no word from the England camp on Vassell's potential availability.
And, for the benefit of City, Pearce thinks it is better for the 25-year-old to have the surgery as planned.
'Darius has had a good season for us but he is carrying a hernia problem that needs to be addressed,' said the Blues boss.
'He has not been in the England squad this season and, while who knows what might happen, as the plan stands at the moment, as soon as our season is finished he will go to hospital for treatment on the problem.
'The priority for Manchester City is to get him sorted out medically, so he is fit for next season.'
Meanwhile, Pearce has again cast doubt on the likelihood of him being brought into the England coaching team if, as expected, Steve McClaren is confirmed as Eriksson's successor this week.
In past months, the former England skipper has suggested it would be a good idea.
However, he acknowledges the heavy price his family pay for the time taken up by his current job and appears dubious about the possibility of being able to fit in extra commitments with England as well.
'I have not given a coaching role any thought,' he said. 'I have a full-time job here. It is a job I love and a job that takes a vast amount of my time. At the moment, I have my hands full here.'
Even without taking into account how City's fans would react to their manager taking on an England role at the end of a season, Pearce's regular commute up and down the M6 from his family home in Wiltshire would also be a major factor in whether he would be able to work with McClaren.
For, while he is happy enough with his work-life balance just now, Pearce admits there may come a time when he regrets the time spent away from his children and wife Liz, who takes the day-to-day responsibilities of running the farm and stables on the land Pearce calls home.
'Combining my work here with family life is easy,' he said. 'I put enough time in at Manchester City and the only people who suffer slightly are my wife and children, which is difficult for me.
'But I am very fortunate that I have a very supportive wife and two children who are probably too young at the moment to understand why their daddy is not there as often as he should be.
'Maybe sometime in the future I will regret spending too much time away from them. But at the moment, my wife is fantastic and has supported me throughout my career. I hope she carries on doing so.
'If England come calling, I would have to have a chat with her.'