Stuart Pearce has been relieved of his duties as manager of England’s U-21 squad.
His exit was made official on Tuesday when The Football Association told Pearce that it will not be renewing his contract, which was set to expire at the end of the month. FA chairman David Bernstein issued the following statement:
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.
Pearce has coached the Under-21s since 2007. During that time he’s led the Three Lions to four Uefa Under-21 European Championship tournaments.
The 2007 Euros went quite well for Pearce, who guided the squad to a semi-final appearance where they were eliminated by host-nation Holland on penalties. Following the tournament the FA elevated Pearce’s status from part-time manager (in conjunction with his job at Manchester City) to full-time.
The 2009 Euros went even better for Pearce, as England made it all the way to the finals where they were dismantled by Germany, 4-0.
Things began to go wrong for Pearce during the 2011 Euros when his side failed to make it out of the group stages after a third match shock 2-1 loss to the Czech Republic.
With the pressure mounting, Pearce failed to turn things around in this summer’s Euro as England were once again bounced in the group stages after losing all three of their matches, 1-0 to Italy, 3-1 to Norway and 1-0 to Israel.
The woeful performance caused outrage throughout England and prompted Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp to proclaim: “We do not know how to play football.”
If Redknapp had it his way, Glenn Hoddle would be the next in line to coach England’s U-21s, who Redknapp says need to learn “possession, retaining the ball, controlling the game.” Gareth Southgate, Phil Neville and Steve McClaren been named as favorites to take over for Pearce.