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Pearce to leave Under-21 post

Stuart Pearce will leave his role as England Under-21 coach when his contract expires at the end of June, the FA has confirmed.

• Blog: English stagnation

Pearce's fourth and final tournament in charge ended in disappointment as England were eliminated at the group stage of the European Under-21 Championships in Israel, losing all three of their matches.

"I'd like to thank Stuart Pearce for his hard work," the FA chairman David Bernstein said in a statement on the organisation's official website. "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."

The high point of Pearce's six years in the Under-21 job came in 2009, when a team featuring Theo Walcott, James Milner and Micah Richards reached the European Championship final in Sweden but lost 4-0 to a Germany team including several players who were World Cup semi-finalists with the senior side the following year.

Pearce had led England to the semi-finals of the tournament two years earlier, when they lost to eventual winners Netherlands 13-12 in a penalty shootout.

Thoughts will now turn to Pearce's successor, with former FA head of elite development Gareth Southgate, Pearce's assistant, Phil Neville, and Peter Taylor thought to be among the candidates for the role.

Bernstein added: "It is important the organisation now considers the best approach for the role of Under-21 coach and how this works best within the overall England structure before making any new appointment."

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