Pearce places blame for England Under-21 failure on players

England Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce believes it is the players who should be held responsible for some of their performances that led to the Young Lions finishing bottom of their group at the European Under-21 Championships, BBC Sport has reported.

A 1-0 defeat to hosts Israel meant England ended their involvement in the tournament without a win or a goal from open play – the only time Pearce’s side found the net was from a penalty against Norway in a 3-1 defeat. And Pearce, who suggested he wants to remain as England Under-21 manager, feels the players ought to take some responsibility.

The players haven’t delivered,” Pearce said, adding: “I’m really disappointed with my team. I honestly don’t believe I should be here answering questions on behalf of the players.

They should be here answering questions on why their performances were so poor, to be honest with you. I don’t think it’s my responsibility at this stage to answer for a performance as bad as that.

The BBC point out that in qualifying for the competition, England scored on average three goals a game and it is the fourth time Pearce has taken his team to the finals of the youth European Championships. But having reached the semi-finals in 2007 and the final in 2009, England have failed to get out of the group stage in the last two editions of the tournament.

Pearce said, after the Israel defeat: “If you don’t turn up and work hard enough in any given tournament, you won’t get any success and that was typical of today and probably the two games prior to it.

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