England Under-21 boss Stuart Pearce has ruled himself out of the running for the vacant manager's job at West Ham.Alan Curbishley became the first managerial casualty of the Premier League season, resigning his post over a row regarding the make-up of the playing squad at Upton Park. Former England defender Pearce spent two seasons with the Hammers from 1999 and is among the early favourites to succeed Curbishley. However, the 46-year-old ex-Manchester City manager maintains his current focus in on duties within the England Under-21s, who play Portugal in their European Championship qualifier at Wembley tomorrow night. 'You can bet with me. I will take your bet any time,' Pearce said. 'I manage this team. I am very proud to do so and will not be stepping down from this job, because I love the job I do. 'I said to the FA bosses when I took this job that I will honour my contract. 'I have said that many times before in the past, and that applies today. '[West Ham and England Under-21 midfielder] Mark Noble has to know that I will be his manager next summer when we go to the tournament.'
Pearce rejected the notion that, for the first time, an overseas coach was more likely to be appointed at Upton Park.
He said: 'There are a lot fantastic English managers about.'What happens nowadays is we knock what we have got under our own noses, and that can be absolutely fatal. 'Alan Curbishley is a fantastic manager with a great deal of experience who has proved himself time and again in the Premier League. That is what Alan is in my eyes, and that will never diminish.' Pearce also spent time at Newcastle where the future of manager Kevin Keegan remains unclear. The tough-tackling former defender believes the domestic game would be poorer without the man regarded as a 'Messiah' on Tyneside. 'I have worked for Kevin at club and international level as a coach and a player,' he said. 'Kevin is a fantastic and honourable man, very committed to what he does and if he is outside English football, I think it is a shame for English football. 'The feeling of emotion in the Newcastle area for Kevin Keegan with the supporters is unrivalled anywhere in the country. 'I have worked for that football club and know what the passion is like up there. 'Hopefully Kevin will come back and be involved in the game.' Meanwhile, Slaven Bilic, one of the favourites for the post at Upton Park, refused to discuss the position when asked at a press conference today. The former Hammers defender and current Croatia manager said on Sky Sports News: 'We are playing Kazakhstan and we are just concentrating on that game.'