Sexton ready to stand down

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The Independent Online
England Under-21 2 Austria Under-21 1

Dave Sexton is ready to stand down as coach after the England Under- 21 side failed to qualify for the European Championship final stage last night.

The youngsters failed to progress to the quarter-finals for the fourth tournament in a row - despite this victory over Austria at Middlesbrough's Riverside stadium - because of Portugal's 3-1 defeat of the Republic of Ireland in Leiria.

Sexton, who has been in charge since 1977 apart from a three-year spell between 1990-93, said he would be prepared to move aside - with assistant Ray Wilkins earmarked to take over.

"If they want me to stand down to let a younger man take over, I will be happy to do that," the former Manchester United manager said. "It is only part-time and I am not employed by the Football Association.

"Terry [Venables] asked me to do the job and I am happy to do whatever they want me to. The objective has always been for younger managers to get experience."

Goals from Liverpool's Robbie Fowler and Neil Shipperley of Southampton paved the way for England's victory, but Portugal's win ensured they topped Group Six by a single point.

ENGLAND UNDER-21: Oakes (Aston Villa), Watson, Elliott (both Newcastle Utd), Campbell (Tottenham Hotspur), Roberts (Crystal Palace), Unsworth (Everton), Butt (Manchester United), Pollock (Middlesbrough), Shipperley (Southampton), Bart-Williams (Nottingham Forest), Fowler (Liverpool). Substitutes: Holland (Newcastle) for Bart-Williams, 85; Beckham (Manchester Utd) for Pollock, 85.

AUSTRIA UNDER-21: Krassnitzer (Linzer ASK); Jovanovic (Rapid Vienna), Hiden (Casino Salzburg), Glasner, Drechsel (both Marco Polo Ried), Silberburger, Cerny (both Tirol Innsbruck), Grassler, Haas (both Sturm Graz), Schiener (Tirol Innsbruck), Weissenberger (Linzer ASK). Substitutes: Amershauser (Casino Graz) for Weissenberger, 52; Manninger (Casino Salzburg) for Krassnitzer, 57.

Referee: L Sammut (Malta).