Stuart Pearce made his debut for England on a cold night on 19th May 1987, at the tender age of 25. This was such a big deal for some Forest fans that they felt the need to pester their parents to get them to Wembley in order to see this monumental event. Ground down by the monotonous moaning, one set of parents eventually relented and a young boy saw Pearce participate in a 1-1 draw against the mighty Brazil.
In the build up to the game, the learned football community expressed concern about Pearce’s disciplinary record: wasn’t he a bit too raw for international football? Wouldn’t he do something rash and get sent off? How would a guy plucked from non-league cope with the magic and wizardry of the Brazilians? A pox on their houses as Pearce performed creditably.
Besides the trickery of Peter Beardsley and a goal from the pending Newcastle United signing Mirandinha, note the self-important toldyouso tone of the analyst (answers to the usual place, please) alongside Brian Moore as Pearce challenges Josimar at 3 minutes 35 seconds. He’s desperate to slate the man who would go on to do this for the supposed reckless challenge until, that is, he sees a replay and admits that Pearce was more than a little unlucky to receive a booking. If anything, Josimar was a little high in his challenge.
Regardless, a Forest player had played for England against Brazil. The secret was out: apart from his thunderous thighs, Pearce was actually a very good player who would go on to make a huge contribution at international level.