Stuart Pearce Extends Contract With England U21sby Mick Bates / 12 July 2011, 09:26Tweet
Stuart Pearce has signed a new two-year extension with the Football Association to remain as England Under-21 manager, despite the team's disappointing showing at the recent European Championships in Denmark.
The former Manchester City manager first took the role back in 2007, and has since guided the U21s to an unprecedented three successive European Championships, with varying degrees of success. He impressed during his first major tournament in charge when his team reached the semi-finals in 2007, before going one better two years later when they reached the final in Sweden, only to be thumped 4-0 by Germany. However, it was different story this summer in Denmark, as England, who were among the pre-tournament favourites, struggled throughout and failed to qualify from the group stage. Pearce was heavily criticised by many quarters for his cautious and negative tactics and England's failure to hold onto possession and employ a passing game. In Pearce's defence, arguably his two best players in Jack Wilshere and Andy Carroll, did not play in the tournament, leaving gaping holes in their midfield and attack.
Pearce is widely considered to be an ideal candidate to manage the senior England team in the future, however, the 49-year-old has himself admitted he is not yet ready. Fabio Capello is due to step down when his contract ends after Euro 2012, with Harry Redknapp the 4/5 odds-on favourite with Sky Bet to replace the Italian in the Next England Manager Betting. Pearce is currently available with odds of 7/1, but his moment will most likely come in a few years time. However, the 49-year-old remains the 5/6 favourite in the Great Britain Manager Betting for next summer's Olympic Games, ahead of David Beckham who is priced at 5/1.
Pearce, who won 78 gaps for England, is popular among players and fans alike and has gained valuable experience at both England U21 level and as Capello's assistant in the senior team. He is widely admired for his charisma, passion and will to win, which commands respect from the players. He will now be tasked with both qualifying for and winning Euro 2013 in Israel, and perhaps winning gold with the Great Britain football team next year.