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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 28, 2007

City 'block' Pearce's England Under-21 move

Manchester City have put a temporary block on Stuart Pearce's hopes of becoming England Under-21 manager.

The Football Association have targeted Pearce as successor to Peter Taylor, who resigned from the post on Wednesday.

A first approach was made on Thursday, since when Pearce has made no secret of his desire to take on the role.

In the aftermath of City's FA Cup triumph over Southampton this afternoon, the former England skipper revealed he had accepted the job, stating his belief the extra work would not impinge on his day-to-day duties with the Eastlands outfit.

Pearce's announcement came as news to Blues officials, whose fears about the manager's ability to combine the twin roles have not been eased by conversations with FA director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking over the weekend.

And, while Pearce had expressed the belief he will be in charge when England tackle Spain in a friendly at Pride Park on February 6, City have immediately cast doubt on the claim.

'The club has not given permission for our manager to be released for England duty,' said a statement on City's official website www.mcfc.co.uk.

'We recognise Stuart's patriotism and enthusiasm to assist the Football Association and Manchester City in turn understands the FA's desire to have him contributing to the Under 21s European Championship campaign.

'We will remain in dialogue with the FA and hope to reach a solution suitable to this club in the next few days.'

Although City chairman John Wardle and chief executive Alistair Mackintosh are happy for Pearce to take charge during the summer tournament, they are less enthusiastic about his involvement in friendly games during the key end of season period.

Clearly, Pearce has now pushed the issue even though he has stated he would not go over the board's head if they decided he could not take the job.

'I have been offered the job and I have accepted it,' said Pearce.

'Now, it is down to the club and the FA to both be comfortable with the situation.

'Hopefully they can finalise one or two things but I don't see any reason why that should not be the case.'

Anxious to stay out of the internal workings at City, the FA have confirmed negotiations will continue over the coming days.

'The FA will continue speaking with Manchester City over the next few days with regard to reaching an appropriate agreement with Stuart Pearce to manage England's Under-21 team,' said a statement on www.thefa.com

'Until those conversations have taken place and an agreement is reached with Manchester City, we are unable to make any further comment.' The problem for both parties is the looming Spain game, coupled with the impending closure of the transfer window on Wednesday.

Under normal circumstances, the under-21 coach would have a major influence on the squad to be picked for the Spain game, with an announcement likely by the end of the week.

Although the FA are not beholden to a precise timescale, clearly the present situation is not ideal.

However, City are currently fully focussed on trying to bring in new players before the deadline and are not keen to get embroiled in any other discussions until Thursday.

Whether Pearce would risk outright confrontation in order to get his way remains to be seen.

A majority of City fans are already opposed to him joining the international set-up, although Pearce is adamant it will have no bearing on results at the club even though the Blues' season took a marked downturn last year when he was linked with the full England job.

'If I felt in my own mind the job would be detrimental to City, I would not have even considered it,' he admitted.

'I cannot see any reason why I should not be in charge for the Spain game. If that is the case, I will be introduced to the squad on Sunday, we will train on Monday and play on Tuesday, so timewise it is negligible.

'I know the FA are looking to pencil another friendly in which would take up five days in March. As time constraints go I don't think it comes into the equation.

'I am the manager of Manchester City and I want to be at this club for a long time to come.

'But the FA need someone to take over because influences outside Peter Taylor deem he cannot do the job any more.

'It is a fantastic honour. I think it will improve me as a manager and improve my standing, and the club's standing by the fact I will be rubbing shoulders with some of the best young players in the country.

'I would have been at the tournament anyway in some capacity. Now I am inside the tournament and I will get to know and study the best eight countries and players in Europe.'