Football

Pearce predicts no shocks in Capello squad

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Fabio Capello is extremely unlikely to repeat Sven-Goran Eriksson's surprise from three years ago and call upon an uncapped player for 2010 World Cup duty, according to England Under-21 head coach Stuart Pearce.

Eriksson stunned the nation when he controversially handed then 17-year-old Theo Walcott a place among his 23-man squad for the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany as the rookie winger had yet to even make a first-team appearance for Arsenal - never mind England - when he was called p by Eriksson.

"I would very much doubt if I was a betting man that someone would get on that aeroplane having not been capped for England. I very much doubt that," said Pearce, who will fly out to Ukraine on Saturday morning to aid Capello for the World Cup qualifier.

"But I don't know. I went (to the European Under-21 Championship finals) this summer with one or two players that had never been in the squad before because of injury and one or two other things. You never know.

"But the one thing is that things change quite quickly in football and we've got nine months to go - injury, fitness and form. People come from nowhere."

Pearce has seen a host of players progress over recent years from his ranks into the senior squad, most lately including James Milner, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Joe Hart.

He is also backing some of his current crop of youngsters to be in the mix come next summer but he insists he cannot see a repeat of Eriksson's 2006 gamble when Capello names his squad for South Africa next year.

Walcott's involvement for England since that shock inclusion in 2006 has attracted its fair share of controversy.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was less than happy with his youngster's heavy commitments when Walcott was called into the under-21 squad for the European finals in Sweden having already featured in two preceding senior World Cup qualifiers, and probably even more so when he was ruled out for two months having injured his lower back in pre-season.

The 20-year-old returned to make his first appearance of the season for the Gunners at the weekend.

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Topics:
Arsenal
Joe Hart
Gabriel Agbonlahor
Football
James Milner
Championship
Premier League
Stuart Pearce
Theo Walcott

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