Three straight defeats for the England Under-21s: What went wrong? What can be done?

Steve Tongue, who has covered all four of Stuart Pearce's tournaments over the past six years, reports from Israel

England's Under-21 side are out of the European Championship following three straight defeats and their worst-ever performance at that level. The manager, Stuart Pearce, who finally lost patience with his highly paid young players after Tuesday's loss to Israel and demanded they took their share of responsibility, seems certain to lose his job.

Steve Tongue has covered all four of Pearce's tournaments over the past six years. He reports from Israel.

 

WHAT WENT WRONG?

In short, the best players were not all there and those that were did not perform. Stuart Pearce, patriotic and committed but tactically weak, lost his argument to have eligible players like Phil Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with him; instead they played for the senior team against Ireland and Brazil in post-season friendlies. As usual at the end of a long domestic season with no winter break, others like Raheem Sterling and Callum McManaman were injured and Wilf Zaha was not fully fit. England should still have had enough quality and pace in the squad but the defence proved unexpectedly vulnerable; the wide players did not function; nobody filled the creative "No 10" role; and the only goal came from Craig Dawson, a centre-half who had also been leading scorer in the qualifying group.

 

WHO ENHANCED THEIR REPUTATION?

Nobody. 

 

WHAT CAN BE DONE?

The FA and "Club England" must decide what they want from the Under-21s and other development sides: simply producing players for the senior team or winning matches and tournaments. If the latter, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jones, both still available in two years' time, should have been here. The Norway team that was one minute from beating Italy on Tuesday had 55 senior caps between them; England's starting XI against Israel the same night had two (Zaha and Jonjo Shelvey one each). In the short-term, the time is right for a change of manager and coaching staff; longer-term, the pool of players qualified for England has to be increased and their technical development at a young age improved.

 

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

For Spain, the Netherlands, Italy and Norway, a semi-final on Saturday. The Club England board, including Sir Trevor Brooking and retiring FA chairman David Bernstein are going home, where they will receive Pearce's report on the tournament and then decide on his future - and presumably a replacement. If as expected it is too soon for the recently retired Phil Neville, the list of candidates will be dominated by those who have worked for the FA previously, such as Peter Taylor, Gareth Southgate and, if both sides can swallow some pride, Glenn Hoddle. In the meantime Taylor has taken England's Under-20s to the World Cup in Turkey hoping to avoid the embarrassment that Pearce, his successor at Under-21 level, suffered over the past two weeks

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
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.

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game