Stuart Pearce yesterday insisted the thought of quitting as England Under-21 manager never crossed his mind after this summer's European Championship failure.
Pearce's team crashed out of June's tournament in Denmark, failing to win a match despite being heralded as favourites along with eventual winners Spain. The Football Association decided not to withdraw the two-year contract extension that had been offered to head coach Pearce before the finals and which he signed afterwards. Asked yesterday whether he had considered not renewing his deal, Pearce said: "No. No, I enjoy the job too much."
Denmark was Pearce's first major failure since being appointed four years earlier, the former England left-back having led his country to the semi-final and final of the two previous tournaments.
That did not prevent his team selection and tactics coming under fire, and while he did not go as far yesterday as admitting he had made mistakes, he revealed there were lessons to be learnt. "I always look back on whatever we achieve," said Pearce, who was preparing for England's first game of the season, tonight's qualifier for the 2013 tournament against Azerbaijan.
"Even if we had got out of the group, I would've looked back and thought, 'Well, I can learn something.' I don't think criticism really comes into it. I just have to make sure that, within our camp, everything that we do is a learning curve, for me [and] the players."