Sat, Jan 21, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Stuart Pearce spurns talk of heading England

AP , MANCHESTER, ENGLAND

Manchester City manager Stuart Pearce never backed out of a tackle. He's taking the same attitude to talk of him becoming England manager.

Pearce said it was "pathetic" and "embarrassing" that his name was being mentioned as a possible successor to Sven-Goran Eriksson, whose future has again been questioned this week after he made indiscreet comments about his players and future.

"This must be the only industry in the world where you can have a total novice, who has not even been in management for one year, being touted for the top job in English football," Pearce said on Thursday. "Would we say the next prime minister is going to be someone who has not even been elected as an MP [lawmaker] yet? No."

Pearce became Manchester City manager in March when Kevin Keegan quit. Nicknamed "Psycho" because of his tough tackles, the 43-year-old is a former England captain and played 78 times for his country.

The former Nottingham Forest and West Ham player helped City finish eighth last season and led his team to a 3-1 defeat of crosstown rival Manchester United today.

"When we didn't win any of our four games over Christmas, I never heard a word about England," Pearce said. "All of a sudden, we win the derby and now I am the England manager again. It is pathetic and I find it quite embarrassing. If I get beaten by [Bolton's] Sam Allardyce on Saturday, he will be the next England manager and I won't get a look in."

Pearce said he wouldn't rule himself out of being England manager in the future, but said he was still "an absolute amateur."

Arsenal is on the verge of signing Southampton teenager Theo Walcott.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said he put in a bid for Walcott and he hoped to soon get an answer from the English Football League Championship club.

"We are very heavily in the race," Wenger said on Thursday. "But nothing is done -- and as long as nothing is signed, you cannot talk about it."

Walcott has a pre-contract agreement with Southampton to sign a professional deal on his 17th birthday on March 16. However, Walcott can sign for another club after his birthday with the Saints entitled to compensation. Southampton was relegated from the Premier League last season.

Walcott was Southampton's youngest-ever player when he came on as a second-half substitute against Wolverhampton in the League Championship on Aug. 6 while 16 years and 143 days. He plays as either a striker or attacking midfielder.

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