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.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Voices
Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron appeal to the audience during the Question Time special
voices
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
News
Michelle Dockery plays Lady Mary in Downton Abbey
peopleBut who comes top of the wish list?
News
Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, right, with Lib Dem candidate Jane Dodds in Newtown, Powys, as part of her tour in support of the party’s female candidates
general electionNick Clegg's wife has impressed during the campaign
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living