Pearce has gone out of his way to signal the attributes of Milner, one of the his Under-21 squad mainstays.
"If ever I'm looking for an example in the Under-21s of someone who has led unselfishly, it's James," said Pearce. "He's got 46 Under-21 caps and managed to step up on to the senior stage and made that transition comfortably while having tournament football experience. That is the model we are looking for. If you're asking me to put an example of a possible captain, an unselfish captain, that's why I'd use James."