• Premier League

Pearce to leave England Under-21 post

ESPN staff
June 18, 2013
Stuart Pearce has been the England U21 coach since 2007 © Getty Images

Stuart Pearce will leave his role as England Under-21 coach when his contract expires at the end of June, the FA has confirmed.

Pearce's fourth and final tournament ended in disappointment when England were eliminated from the European Under-21 Championships in Israel at the group stage earlier this month having lost all three of their matches.

"Nobody can doubt [Pearce's] commitment to the job throughout his time as Under-21 coach," FA chairman David Bernstein said in a statement via the organisation's official website.

"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."

The high point for Pearce's six years in the job came in 2009 when a team featuring Theo Walcott, James Milner and Micah Richards reached the European Championship final in Sweden, only to lose 4-0 to a Germany team that included several players who reached the World Cup semi-finals with the senior side the following year.

Pearce had also led England to the semi-finals of the same tournament two years earlier, where they lost to eventual winners Netherlands in the semi-finals via a 13-12 defeat in a penalty shootout.

Thoughts will now turn to Pearce's successor with former FA head of elite development Gareth Southgate, Pearce's assistant Phil Neville and Peter Taylor thought to be among the candidates for the role.

Bernstein added: "It is important the organisation now considers the best approach for the role of Under-21 coach and how this works best within the overall England structure before making any new appointment."

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