Capello's rejuvenating leaves Pearce with little need to experiment
Interim manager Stuart Pearce's England squad has been met with a wave of indifference. For all the overexcited tabloid-TV talk of calling up "inexperienced" players, and a few respectful phone calls to older squad members left out this time, the only uncapped players in the pot are Fraizer Campbell and Tom Cleverley. Plus ÃÂ§a change, plus ÃÂ§a meme chose, as Basile Boli might say.
But what else was Pearce to do? He wanted to give gametime to those who haven't had much of it, but had he called up his old England U21 players en bloc, he would have been derided as a narrow-minded nepotist. And there's not much we can learn about Joleon Lescott, Michael Carrick or Jermain Defoe that we don't already know.
At the top of the age scale, there would be howls if he had reinstated the old guard like Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand. Like a few ageing players, both those former Hammers may have all their fingers crossed that their old mucker Harry Redknapp gets his expected coronation. So might Joe Cole. There might even be an excited Christmas-morning twinkle in the eye of David Beckham.
The reason the squad doesn't look shockingly jejune is that Fabio Capello had already started rejuvenating England after the last tournament. The oldest squad at South Africa 2010 had looked decidedly doddery, and Capello had started a surgery just as necessary as the one Andres Villas-Boas is struggling to achieve at Chelsea.
Joe Hart is now the player England can least afford to lose. Kyle Walker, Phil Jones and Gary Cahill have come into the backline. Although leavening a midfield built around Jack Wilshere with the selfless experience of Scott Parker, Capello was also exploring options like Jack Rodwell and Adam Johnson. Up front, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck have also been brought in for inspection.
The renovation had already started, and despite his building-site experience as an electrician, Pearce didn't need to bulldoze a squad which qualified undefeated despite the changes.
Fully deserving of his call-up is Micah Richards, ostracised by Capello but flourishing at Roberto Mancini's Manchester City into a powerful, adaptable and increasingly clever right-back Ã¢ÂÂ an area of uncertainty for which England could use a solid answer.
Similarly, although the squad is young it's good to see the recall of Steven Gerrard, who needs time back in the international saddle Ã¢ÂÂ especially in the temporary absence of Wayne Rooney. Running the game from behind the main striker, the Liverpool skipper could be a worthwhile stand-in for his fellow Scouser in the first two games of a Euro 2012 tournament into which England go with no manager, but a decent squad of options.