England`s Parker relishes first tilt at captaincy

London: Scott Parker has experienced a rollercoaster role reversal that has seen him go from World Cup reject to England captain in two years and he now wants more opportunities to showcase his leadership credentials.

The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder, who was winning his 11th cap for his country at the age of 31, was given the armband by caretaker manager Stuart Pearce for the 3-2 friendly defeat by World Cup finalists Netherlands at Wembley on Wednesday.

Such is the mark of the man, he was immediately congratulated by Steven Gerrard, who had been favourite to take over as captain with Euro 2012 just 100 days away.

Two years ago, Parker suffered the disappointment of being left out of England`s World Cup squad by former manager Fabio Capello without playing in either of two warm-up matches.

However, Wednesday was the culmination of a remarkable turnaround where he has been crowned England fans` player for 2011 as well as being at the heart of Tottenham`s push for the Premier League title.

"I would like more and I am going to keep working hard to get it," Parker told reporters.

"I had a long time to think about things today, I knew at 10:15 and I turned my phone off and turned my telly off. It has all happened very quickly for me and long may it continue."

His absence from the World Cup perhaps worked in his favour as England were dumped out of the tournament in the second round and Parker returned to the side against Denmark last February.

This was followed by a series of superb performances which led him to become a fixture at the heart of England`s midfield.

The more experienced Gerrard, who has 90 caps, had been widely expected to be given the job after John Terry had the captaincy stripped by the FA pending a racial abuse trial - which prompted Capello`s resignation this month.

"All the players congratulated me but Stevie was the first to come up to me and say I deserved it and say he would support me," Parker added.

"I wouldn`t really expect anything less from Stevie, he is a fantastic player and a fantastic professional."

England began Wednesday`s match in confident fashion but were undone in the second half when wideman Arjen Robben drove past keeper Joe Hart after running 40 metres unchecked and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar powered a header in from a Dirk Kuyt cross.

Defender Gary Cahill slid home to make it 2-1 and Ashley Young levelled with a neat chipped finish on 90 minutes.

With a draw in sight, England came unstuck in injury time as Robben netted with a curled effort that deflected past Hart.

"He led the team well and did what he had to," Hart told reporters. "Scotty is a leader for our team. We look for him and he is a fantastic player and has earned his right to be captain of the side and we were proud to play behind him."

Whether he keeps the job remains to be seen with his Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp the favourite to take charge of England for June`s Euros.

Bureau Report