Steven Gerrard has revealed that he felt disrespected and upset when Stuart Pearce overlooked him for the England captaincy in favour of Scott Parker.
Pearce had one game in interim charge of England’s senior side between Fabio Capello’s resignation and Roy Hodgson’s appointment prior to Euro 2012.
Liverpool legend Gerrard was expected to be named skipper, with John Terry having been axed, but Pearce opted for Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Parker for the 3-2 defeat to the Netherlands at Wembley.
The 35-year-old, now at Los Angeles Galaxy, claims that Pearce was trying to stamp his authority on the side to put himself in the frame for the permanent position, at his expense.
In his upcoming autobiography – ‘My Story’ – being serialised in the Daily Mail – Gerrard told of how Pearce let him know of his surprise decision in a hotel toilet.
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“There had been a lot of talk about who would be captain under Pearce and, when I arrived at the hotel, I thought that might have been his moment to say, ‘Can I have a word outside?’ or, ‘Could you come to my room for a chat?’
“The following morning, just before the squad left for training, Pearce pulled me into a toilet at The Grove. He said, ‘I just wanted to tell you face to face that I’m going to be picking Scott Parker to be the captain for this game.’
“Scott Parker is a good player and honest; I’ve got a lot of respect for Scott as a player and a person. But to pick Scott Parker as England captain ahead of me?
“I don’t know whether it was a dig at Liverpool or something more personal — but my overall perception was Pearce was doing some muscle-flexing in the toilet mirrors. My guess is it was a decision designed to focus attention on him, his way of saying: ‘This is me. I’m in charge.’
“I might have had misgivings about his tactical insights as a coach, but I respected Pearce until that moment. I felt he treated me very badly. It was insulting — and wrong. I thought it was selfish. It was a political decision to make everyone think he had balls.
“It was clear in team meetings Pearce wanted to impress and get a crack at the job for Euro 2012.
But I think the decision he shared with me in a toilet was one of the reasons he never got the position he craved.”
Gerrard was eventually named permanent England captain by Hodgson and led the Three Lions at Euro 2012. He made a total of 114 international appearances, scoring 22 goals, before his retirement in 2014.
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