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Hart sings Parker´s praises

Joe Hart has praised new England captain Scott Parker, saying the Tottenham midfielder has ‘earned the right’ to lead his country.

Acting coach Stuart Pearce named Parker as his captain on Wednesday for England’s 3-2 defeat by the Netherlands in an international friendly at Wembley.

Many observers had expected Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard to be selected but Manchester City keeper Hart, who was also tipped for the role, believes 31-year-old Parker did an excellent job.

“Scott Parker was great as captain. He led the team well and did what he usually does, which is enough for me,” he said.

“This thing about having someone to gee the team up in the dressing-room room before the game is a myth. The captain doesn’t need to go around shouting in people’s faces. We’re all good players and we know what we’re doing.”

“Scotty spoke just as he would have done if he was on the bench or if he was the captain. He’s a leader for our team but we look to other players as well.”

The Spurs midfielder was named as England fans’ Player of the Year recently, something Hart believes shows the time is right for Parker.

“He’s been fantastic for a long time and he’s earned the right to captain the side,” he said. “He made some good tackles but that is what he’s all about and people are making out as if they are surprised that he played so well.”

“We were proud to play behind him on Wednesday.”

Spurs midfielder Parker, meanwhile, spoke of his pride for leading national side for the first time.

“Wednesday was a very proud day for me; something I dreamed of as a boy but which I thought would only ever remain a dream,” he said.

“I was thinking all day about leading the team out at Wembley but it wasn’t until I heard the national anthem that it hit me.”

“It was a really emotional occasion for me.”

The former West Ham, Chelsea and Newcastle man said he was congratulated by his team-mates, including Gerrard, who had been widely tipped to replace deposed captain John Terry.

“Stevie was one of the first to come up and congratulate me on the captaincy,” he said.

“He told me I deserved it and that he would support me. He was pleased for me and I wouldn’t expect anything less.”

Fri 2 March, 2012
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