Parker expected to lead England

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder is believed to have been handed the England captaincy ahead of Wednesday evening's friendly international against the Netherlands.

Caretaker coach Stuart Pearce is, as it stands, only scheduled to be in charge of the national team for the encounter against last year's World Cup finalists, and was due to inform the player of his decision on Wednesday morning.

INTERVIEW: Scott Parker Q&A with FFT

Confirmation of the Three Lions' skipper is not expected until the team-sheets emerge one hour before kick-off.

Liverpool captain Steve Gerrard and Manchester City duo Joe Hart and James Milner were also reportedly in Pearce's considerations, with the current England Under-21 boss revealing that he had decided who would wear the armband two weeks ago.

When asked what qualities he would look for in choosing his leader, Pearce told a news conference:

"When I bare in mind it might be a one-off scenario when I pick the captain, [it has to be] someone that's going to be in the starting XI, somebody that's got respect of the other players in my eyes and somebody that I deem is unselfish and puts the group before himself. It's a vital commodity for any captain."

England internationals, past and present, have responded to the reports, with Manchester United striker Michael Owen - capped 89 times by his country - tweeting: "Congrats to Scott Parker. Great honour."

While Owen's team-mate Rio Ferdinand, handed the captaincy after Chelsea defender John Terry was stripped of it for the first time prior to the 2010 World Cup, added:

"Congrats to Scott Parker on being named captain for tonights game. A great honour + one I'm sure he'll cherish."

Arsenal starlet Jack Wilshere joined Owen and Ferdinand in hailing the decision, saying: "Scotty Parker great choice for me... top leader, top man and been the best English midfielder all season! Deserves it!"

While Parker's club team-mate Rafael van der Vaart, who pulled out of the Dutch squad to face England at Wembley Stadium, added his support.

"Congrats to my teammate Scott Parker on becoming England's captain for tonight's game against Holland. Sure he's proud!"

Parker has only been capped 10 times by his country, but has been in sterling form for both England and Tottenham Hotspur, and was recently named England's Player of the Year in a 15,000-vote poll run on the Football Association's website.

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