Stuart Pearce's reign as England Under-21 manager brought to an end

Gareth Southgate and Peter Taylor favourites to take over

England are looking for a new manager for their Under-21 side after Stuart Pearce was told that his contract will not be renewed. The news was hardly unexpected after a poor showing at this month's European Championship, in which England lost all three group games for the first time ever.

The feeling before the tournament had been that the former Manchester City manager would need some exceptional results to have any chance of staying on. England went into it with a remarkable record of having won their previous nine games without conceding a goal but that proved illusory and was followed by defeats against Italy, Norway and the host country Israel in which they scored only one goal, from a penalty.

Pearce expressed his desire to continue, insisting how much he loved the job, but long before the end he appeared to see the writing on the wall and became more outspoken. First he talked publicly about how England needed to take their strongest team to tournaments if they wanted to win them, hinting at a disagreement with Roy Hodgson over players like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Phil Jones, who played two post-season friendlies with the senior side instead.

Then his frustration with the under-performing players who were in Israel boiled over and after the final match against Israel he said: "I'm not coming out here and defending anyone. I'm sick to the back teeth of doing that in this tournament. I'm not going to. Players have to deal with that."

England were the only country to qualify for all four tournaments during his period in charge from 2007 and overall his record his included one final and one semi-final. But the last two competitions were the worst and the feeling was that for all his patriotism and commitment he lacked tactical nous.

A statement on the FA's website read: "The Football Association today advised Stuart Pearce they will not be renewing his contract.

"The England Under-21s Coach was informed of the decision following Club England Board discussions."

FA Chairman David Bernstein said of the decision: "I'd like to thank Stuart Pearce for his hard work. Nobody can doubt his commitment to the job throughout his time as Under-21 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.

"On behalf of everyone at The FA I'd like to wish Stuart well for the future."

Gareth Southgate and the Under-20 coach Peter Taylor will be among the favourites to take over.

Comments