Bought from Blackburn Rovers in what looked like a pricey £2.4million in 1997, Pearce began his career as a sometime attacker, and was an occasional substitute for the likes of Shearer and Sutton while at Ewood. He remains an attacking force either from centre-back or from right wing-back.
Actually started out as a junior with Chelsea, making five substitute appearances for the Stamford Bridge club, including his Premiership debut in a 2-1 defeat at Liverpool, before moving to Blackburn for £300,000 in October 1993 - where he would win a championship medal.
After a slow start at West Ham he then impressed in 1998/99 with his defensive performances until he sustained a broken leg in the spring. Still earned second place in the fans' Hammer of the Year vote.
He missed all but 37 minutes of 1999/2000 when he injured knee ligaments in a clash with Stuart Pearce on the opening day, and Harry Redknapp found it very hard to replace him.
Pearce was out of the game for 14 months, finally returning to action in October 2000 against Newcastle United. Struggled to find full fitness, and a couple of other niggling injuries limited him to 17 appearances that season.
Another injury then ruled him out of the start of the 2001/02 season, and it would be February before he was fit to return. Played in nine games and was cheered by goals against Tottenham Hotspur and Bolton Wanderers.
His injury woes had limited him to just 104 appearances for the club by the end of the campaign. However, earned a new contract in the summer of 2002.
The former England Under-21 international can play as centre back, right wing-back or even as a forward.