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.”

News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
i100
Life and Style
fashion David Beckham fronts adverts for his underwear collection
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
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

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape