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Pearce waits on new contract

The future of England Under-21 coach Stuart Peace will not be decided until after this summer's European Championships.

Pearce, 50, has been in charge of the Under-21ssince 2007 and has led the side to four successive European Championships, with England only having qualified twice in the 19 years before his tenure. They reached the semi-finals in 2007, beaten by Netherlands 13-12 on penalties, and lost to Germany in the final two years later.

He remains highly regarded within the Football Association but after a poor display in the 2011 finals in Denmark, when England failed to get out of their group, improvement will be expected in Israel in June.

England have been handed a favourable draw, in a group which also contains the hosts, Italy and Norway. They avoided much-fancied Germany and Spain, who were drawn with Netherlands and Russia.

Pearce said: "In the discussions I've had, the guidance I've had from the FA is they'd prefer to wait to the summer, which probably I would.

"I don't really know what they're comfortable with and what they're not. I suppose if they're not comfortable with that they'd have probably come up, to me and put a contract under my nose. But I think for both parties we're, happy to sit tight and then have a chat in the summer.

"I enjoy what I do, it's a fantastic job, a fantastic environment to work, in, that's for sure. But really my focus at the moment just takes me to the, summer, then there'll be a conversation had between myself and the FA."

Pearce, who now coaches the Under-21 side at the new St George's Park complex, revealed that senior coach Roy Hodgson wants a strong squad to go to the European Championships.

He said: "My stance has been the same for the last six years - that every time you go to a major tournament, you should go with your best possible available players at that age group.

"It is guided from Roy from above. I will pick the best possible available players to take to a tournament to give them more experience at international level. Roy has made it clear he wants to send a really strong squad to the Under-21s."


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