Southgate favourite to succeed Pearce as England Under-21 boss

Former England international defender Gareth Southgate is the favourite to become the new manager of the England Under-21 side, the Guardian has reported, after it was revealed Stuart Pearce’s contract with the national team will not be renewed.

Pearce’s services have been dispensed with following the Under-21s’ poor performance at the European Championships, where England failed to win a game in the group stage and scored only one goal, a penalty.

The former Nottingham Forest defender is to depart the Under-21s brief at the end of June, having been at the helm for six years. Pearce previously took the Under-21 side to the final of the 2009 European Championship but the last two editions of the tournament have seen England fail to get past the first stage.

Southgate’s only previous managerial experience comes from his time at Middlesbrough, which ended in 2009, shortly after the Teeside club had been relegated from the Premier League. Southgate, a veteran of 54 appearances for England as a player, currently works as a TV pundit but was part of the FA’s youth development programme until leaving the scheme a year ago.

Michael Appleton, a former coach of West Bromwich Albion during senior England manager Roy Hodgson’s time at the Hawthorns, is also in the frame, as is former Everton and Manchester United defender Phil Neville, who was part of Pearce’s coaching staff this summer and recently announced his retirement from playing.

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