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The Toe Poke
By ESPN Staff

Pearce to take control of England U21s

Stuart Pearce has no intention of applying to become England Under-21 coach on a permanent basis.

The Manchester City boss has been confirmed as Peter Taylor's successor for next week's friendly with Spain at Pride Park, plus this summer's European Championships after Football Association officials thrashed out a compromise with their City counterparts over the time Pearce would spend in the role.

It means Pearce will not play any part in the friendly - probably against France - pencilled in for March, cutting his involvement down to the absolute minimum prior to England's appearance in the Euro finals in Holland.

And, while Pearce claimed it was 'an honour' to be asked to lead a coaching team that will also include Nigel Pearson and, for the summer only, City assistant Steve Wigley, the former England skipper has no intention of taking the job full-time next season.

'Manchester City is my main priority,' he said.

'It always has been and it always will be.

'Hopefully, I can be a success. Certainly, the whole idea is to try and win the Championships.

'But, after that, I will come back to the club and work for Manchester City.

'The club have been extremely good in allowing me to go and get more experience but, after the summer, I will be back at Manchester City.

'I won't be involved in the Under-21s after the summer because I will not be applying for the job.'

Since news of the FA's pursuit of Pearce surfaced a week ago, a significant majority of City fans who have voiced their opinion on the matter have adopted a negative stance.

However, Pearce now feels the issue has been clarified to the satisfaction of all parties, so he will link up with his new charges on Sunday evening before returning to City for training as usual on Wednesday.

'At the start of last week, neither I, nor the directors had a clue what it might entail,' he revealed.

'Since then, we have sat down and spoken with the FA and all parties are now quite happy and comfortable with the situation because it won't take away anything I am doing at this club.

'Now they know all the facts, I hope people will have more common-sense than to blame England Under-21s if we don't get a result against Reading on Saturday.

'You can find excuses for anything if you want to look for them but I have prepared the side as well this week as I did the last, when we defeated Southampton.'

Pearce will certainly have a strong squad available to him for the Spain encounter with Wigan's Leighton Baines, Arsenal's Theo Walcott and Charlton keeper Scott Carson all included.

Kieran Richardson steps back down after featuring at senior level against Holland last month, while the presence of City keeper Joe Hart, currently on loan at Tranmere, for the first time ensures Pearce will be greeted by at least one familiar face.

He said: 'If you get the opportunity to go away from your club and work with a different group of players for even a day or so, it can freshen you up mentally.

'I am not used to international football as a coach and, from my playing days, I know it can be quite different to club football.

'By the end of the tournament, I will know all the teams and squads taking part in it very well and I would like to think, on a personal basis, I would know the England players very well.'