Pearce pledges future to role with England's youth

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Stuart Pearce is expected to distance himself from the vacant post at Wigan Athletic and focus on his full-time role with England under-21s. Pearce has been linked with succeeding Chris Hutchings at the JJB Stadium, with Graeme Souness and Alex McLeish also thought to being considered by the chairman Dave Whelan.

After signing a two-year contract with the Football Association in the summer, Pearce has spoken of his commitment to his current job and played down a return to club management when QPR were looking to recruit. Pearce said: "When I sat and talked to the people at the FA in respect to this job, obviously they know me reasonably well and know I'm pretty straight, and I said to them if I take this job on I'll take it on for the duration of my contract and I won't leave and go anywhere else in that time. I think it's only fair that if I give a commitment to employers and to players – maybe more so the players – they need to know that I'm the man who is going to be in charge of this team unless the FA decide otherwise.

"But from my point of view I'll stay and work for the FA for the duration of my contract and I'll be proud and pleased to do so. I'm a man of my word."

Pearce was sacked as the manager of Manchester City the day after last season ended and, although they struggled during his tenure, the former England left-back was credited in blooding the youngsters Sven-Goran Eriksson is now benefiting from.

Pearce was given a permanent role as under-21s coach after guiding the youngsters to the semi-finals of the European Championships in June. They have started their qualifying campaign with a 100 per cent record and face Bulgaria next week in Milton Keynes. Michael Johnson's persistent groin problem is likely to rule him out, but Danny Guthrie's form for Bolton could offer Pearce a replacement. Everton's James Vaughan is expected to return.

* Millwall have appointed the Manchester City reserve-team coach Kenny Jackett as their new manager. Jackett, 45, replaces Willie Donachie who was sacked on 8 October after a poor run of results left the club bottom of League One, and was due to take charge of the Lions following their league fixture against Swansea City, his former club, last night. Jackett became Swans manager in 2004, but parted with the club by mutual consent in February.