Joe Hart for England

Joe Hart for England

England - Netherlands Preview: Stuart Pearce faces tough first assignment

The former Manchester City boss will lead the Three Lions against the Oranje following his appointment on a temporary basis after the resignation of Fabio Capello



Richards, Jones, Cahill, Cole
Gerrard, Parker, Milner
Sturridge, Welbeck, Young


Boulahrouz, Heitinga, Mathijsen, Pieters
Van Bommel, Strootman
Kuyt, Sneijder, Van Persie

For England, Micah Richards is in line to start at right-back after Kyle Walker and Glen Johnson withdrew from the squad due to injury.

James Milner is in contention to start in midfield as Gareth Barry is struggling with a back problem, whilst Tom Cleverley also had to withdraw due to an ankle problem.

Darren Bent suffered ankle ligament damage on Saturday and Wayne Rooney withdrew from the squad due to a throat infection, making way for a new look attack

Fraizer Campbell of Sunderland received his first England call-up after returning from long-term injury but is likely to start on the bench.

The Oranje are missing regular right back Gregory van der Wiel through injury meaning the experienced Khalid Boulahrouz is likely to start.

Tottenham’s Rafael van der Vaart withdrew from the squad after an ankle injury at the weekend.

In attack, Arjen Robben may feature but has been struggling to return to full fitness after groin surgery in October.


  • Stuart Pearce’s first game as caretaker manager takes place in a friendly that was rescheduled following last summer’s London riots. The match was originally to be played in August.
  • Manchester United’s Tom Cleverley received his first call-up England ahead of the cancelled game, and will have to wait again to make his debut after withdrawing from the squad with an ankle problem.
  • Robin van Persie’s (pictured right) last goal for the Netherlands, his 25th, moved him to 10th place in the list of top scorers for the Oranje, one ahead of Marco Van Basten. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar stands at 7th on the list with 30.
  • England qualified undefeated for Euro 2012, where they will face Ukraine, France, and Sweden in the group stage. They won their group after a tense 2-2 draw with Montenegro sealed their progress and have since won friendly matches 1-0 against Spain and Sweden.
  • England’s overall record against the Netherlands reads won five, drawn nine, and lost four. However, their last four fixtures going back to 2002 were all draws. 
  • The last game in August 2009 finished 2-2 in Holland after Jermain Defoe appeared as a second-half substitute to pull England back from two goals down.
  • Netherlands lie in third place in the Fifa World Rankings, two places above England in 5th, having reached the World Cup 2010 final in South Africa under coach Bert Van Marwijk, where they lost 1-0 after extra time to Spain.
  • The Oranje qualified comfortably for Euro 2012 where they will face Germany, Portugal and Denmark in the group stage. They won nine of their 10 games in qualifying, losing only their final match against Sweden. However, their form has since deserted them with a 0-0 draw against Switzerland and a 3-0 defeat to Germany their last results in friendlies.


Tottenham defender Kyle Walker pulls out of England squad to face the Netherlands

27 Feb 2012 11:40:00

The Spurs full-back sustained an ankle injury in the 5-2 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday and becomes the fourth player to pull out of Stuart Pearce’s squad.

  Kyle Walker
Getty Images

Tottenham defender Kyle Walker has pulled out of the England squad to face the Netherlands on Wednesday.

The Spurs full-back sustained an ankle injury during his side’s 5-2 Premier League loss to Arsenal on Sunday.

Walker joins Wayne Rooney, Tom Cleverley and Darren Bent in withdrawing from Stuart Pearce’s squad, his first as caretaker manager following the resignation of Fabio Capello earlier this month.

Rooney and Cleverley both missed Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Norwich at the weekend with a throat infection and an ankle injury respectively. 

Meanwhile, Bent withdrew after injuring his ankle in Aston Villa’s 0-0 draw with Wigan.

Pearce will not call any replacements up to the squad meaning Fraizer Campbell is likely to make his England debut, with only Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck remaining as forward options.

Micah Richards may hope to replace Walker at right-back after returning to the international scene following a frustrating failure to make the England team during Capello’s reign.

Robin van Persie doubtful for Netherlands’ clash with England after suffering a groin injury

28 Feb 2012 23:25:00

The Arsenal forward missed the last 10 minutes of training with his national side on Tuesday at Wembley but Bert van Marwijk hopes the 28-year-old will be fit for Wednesday’s match

Arsenal striker Robin van Persie is a doubt for the Netherlands' friendly against England on Wednesday after pulling up with a groin problem in training

The 28-year-old missed the last 10 minutes of training on Tuesday evening after aggravating a groin strain he sustained during Arsenal’s 5-2 victory against Tottenham on Sunday.

Despite the scare, Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk played down the extent of Van Persie’s injury and is hopeful the striker will be fit to face England at Wembley.

“We will have to wait and see but I don’t think it’s too serious. I am optimistic he will play,” he said.

Van Persie has netted 33 goals in 39 appearances for Arsenal and the Netherlands this season and Van Marwijk praised the striker’s adaptation after moving into a more central role.


“Robin is in great form. It’s a little bit different this season with Robin,” he said.

“He is scoring a lot of goals now. He is now a centre-forward.

“Normally he is a player who plays in combination, with others. He did that with Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri but now he plays very deep as a striker.”

“The performance is more important than the result for us tomorrow,” he noted.

“We want to play in the Dutch way. We want to win but it’s more important that we are ready when the Euros come around.”

Rooney, Walker, Cleverley and Bent out of England friendly

27 February 2012 Last updated at 15:22 GMT

Tottenham defender Kyle Walker has joined England’s growing list of injury absentees for the friendly against the Netherlands at Wembley on Wednesday.

The 21-year-old, who made his debut last November, suffered an ankle problem in Sunday’s defeat at Arsenal.

Manchester United duo Wayne Rooney (throat infection) and Tom Cleverley (foot) withdrew on Sunday.

Aston Villa’s Darren Bent, who injured his ankle in Aston Villa’s draw at Wigan on Saturday, is also out.

Meanwhile, Tottenham midfielder Rafael van der Vaart has withdrawn from the Dutch squad with an ankle injury sustained during the 5-2 defeat by Arsenal.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed the withdrawal of his two players following Sunday’s 2-1 win over Norwich at Carrow Road.

Ferguson said: “Wayne has not recovered from his throat infection. Hopefully he’ll be ready for next Sunday, when we have a big game [against Tottenham] at White Hart Lane.”

Injuries have limited Cleverley to nine games for United this season.

He suffered a foot injury at Bolton in September which ruled him out of action for six weeks.

His comeback lasted just two matches before an ankle injury sidelined him for four months, before returning for the Europa League last-32 first-leg tie against Ajax in Amsterdam on 16 February.

"Very disappointed not to be joining up with the England squad," Cleverley said on Twitter. 

"And again, it isn’t a recurrence of the injury, it’s the other leg."

England caretaker manager Stuart Pearce named Cleverley in his squad on Thursday and saw him come off after an hour of the return leg against Ajax, a game Rooney missed.

Bent landed awkwardly following a challenge from Antolin Alcaraz on Saturday and left the pitch on a stretcher during the second half at the DW Stadium.

He later left the ground wearing a protective boot.

"He was in agony in the dressing room," said Villa manager Alex McLeish. "He is certainly out of the England squad."

Bent received lengthy treatment on the pitch and McLeish fears his forward could be set for a long spell on the sidelines.

"Going by his reaction, it seems serious," the Scot added. "You never know if it settles down in the next 24 to 48 hours before he has a scan but he went over on it badly.

The Football Association usually asks to see players before ruling them out of an international but, with Bent due to have a scan on Monday, McLeish said: “I think there will be a bit of common sense applied to this one.

"Our doctor has a good relationship with the England medical set-up. If [Bent] has to report he will certainly be limping to the headquarters."