The patriotic defender made the surprise revelation on the Jim White on talkSPORT show on Thursday morning
Stuart Pearce has revealed he would have submitted a transfer request to Nottingham Forest if it meant he kept his England place.
The former Three Lions skipper, who later managed the Under-21s and senior team, stressed the importance of playing for your country and what it meant to him.
For an entire generation of Englishmen, the sight of Pearce screaming ecstatically on the Wembley turf in Euro 1996 will forever be ingrained in their memory.
The defender missed a crucial spot kick against Germany in the 1990 World Cup semi-final, but exorcised those demons by scoring against Spain six years later in the European Championships.
Ever the patriot, Pearce revealed on talkSPORT exactly what it meant to play for his country and the lengths he would have gone to make sure he stayed in the side.
“I’m one of these individuals who thinks the national team should always come before club teams,” Pearce revealed to Jim White on talkSPORT.
“I knew what it meant to me to play for my country.”
When asked if playing for his country meant more than playing for his club, the Nottingham Forest legend showed no signs of hesitation in his answer.
He replied: “Yeah of course, so it should – it’s the pinnacle of your career!
“When I first got in the England squad, Bobby Robson said to me: ‘This is the best football team you’ll ever play for’. And he was right, it’s the national team – it should be!
“I also had the conundrum in, I think it was 1993, when I was captain of England at the time and got relegated with Nottingham Forest.
“First thing I done was ring Graham Taylor and said: ‘If I drop down to the division below, will I still get the call-up for England?’
“If he would have said no I would have put in a transfer request in to Nottingham Forest that day and said ‘I have to leave because I want to play for my country’.
“And I didn’t want to leave Nottingham Forest, bearing in mind I had been at Nottingham Forest for 7,8,9 years at the time and I loved the football club. So I would never want to leave Nottingham Forest.
“But to lose my England place, whilst being captain as well, was never going to be negotiable.”
In the end, Pearce stayed at Forest and scored the header which secured promotion back to the Premier League for Forest. He remained at the club in 1997, after 12 years of service.
But when pressed his transfer request revelation, Pearce was again uncompromising in his stance.
“I would have had to, of course. It’s your country!,” he added.
“You don’t get the opportunity to play for your country very often and when you do, the priority must be that.”