Gareth Southgate emerges as early favourite to replace Stuart Pearce as England Under-21 manager

The former Middlesbrough manager has a long-standing interest in youth football

Gareth Southgate could be set for a return to the Football Association, after becoming early favourite to replace Stuart Pearce as England Under-21 manager.

Last summer Southgate left his role as head of elite development, asking not be considered for the job of technical director. But he is the front-runner after the FA announced that Stuart Pearce’s six-year reign as Under-21 coach was over, as he will not be offered a new contract.

Pearce led England to four Under-21 Championships but this summer’s tournament was an abject failure, England losing all three group games. His contract expires at the end of the month and the FA announced that, following Club England board discussions, it would not be renewed.

“I'd like to thank Stuart Pearce for his hard work,” said FA chairman David Bernstein. “Nobody can doubt his commitment to the job throughout his time as U21 Coach. He has done extremely well in qualifying for finals tournaments, but after the disappointment of the past two tournaments, we believe it is time to change Coach.”

The early favourite is Gareth Southgate, the former England international and Middlesbrough manager, who worked as FA head of elite development – overseeing changes in youth football – for 18 months before quitting last summer.

Southgate, who has a long-standing interest in youth development issues, made his opinions about the under-21s clear soon after he left the FA, and would likely impose a better style of play on the side.

Soon after leaving the FA, Southgate said that there should be serious coordination of football approaches between the different England teams. “I travelled to watch all of those teams play,” he told The Independent last September. “I think it’s important that those teams play with a particular style going forward and that the coaches of those teams interact and have the same philosophies, which then lead into the seniors.”

Pearce’s tenure as Under-21 manager was notable for a lack of tactical vision, as well as the dropping-off of results, with England failing to make it out of their group, or win a game, in either the 2011 or 2013 championships. Southgate, though, wants the Under-21s to pass the ball.

“What we should be looking to do as a country is to develop a national team that can control possession,” Southgate said last year. “When you’re first team manager it’s like at a club, you have to get results with the resources he has got. The development teams have got to develop players with the skills long-term to be able to adapt to whatever system the senior guy plays. We have got to develop players at the younger age-groups who could dictate a game in terms of possession.”

England left some of their eligible players at home this summer and Southgate believes that senior caps should not stop players from being taken to U-21 tournaments. “If a player has become a regular starter for the seniors, then I think the junior teams have probably done their job,” Southgate said last September. “If he is a player who is in the senior squad but he’s not playing then I think it’s invaluable for them to get experience of going to a tournament, it’s invaluable for them to get time on the field, playing international football.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Sport
footballBrighton vs Arsenal match report
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us