Granted, Stuart Pearce cannot take all of the blame for England’s shambolic early exit from the UEFA European u-21 Championships, but even with the squad at his disposal, Pearce should still have ensured England’s place in the semi finals of the tournament.
After qualifying impressively, England should have had little trouble progressing from the easier of two groups at the finals to confirm a last-four spot. Instead, they are out of a group containing the heavyweights of Norway and Israel with a game to spare.
A portion of England’s problem does relate to how seriously the tournament is taken. After all, Holland called up Kevin Strootman, who has captained the senior team, Russia have included Euro 2012 star man Alan Dzagoev in their squad and Norway have four players that recently travelled with the senior team.
Even if fit, Jack Wilshere would not have been representing England and it was decided that Phil Jones, Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would be better served playing in a pointless senior friendly with Ireland.
This could have been England’s team for the u-21 Euros if everyone was fit and available for selection.
However, the loss to Norway that confirmed England’s elimination not only ensured Pearce’s imminent departure after six years as coach, but highlighted flaws on the field, especially in terms of incisive passing in the final third.
A manager that can help in this regard is surely what England require, but instead it is two former players with defensive tendencies that lead the betting to replace Pearce.
Phil Neville is the clear favourite at 5/2 despite having no previous managerial experience, with Gareth Southgate next at 6/1 even though his only prior spell was a failed attempt at Middlesbrough.
Glenn Hoddle’s name has been linked with the job in parts and there are certainly grounds to believe he would be a much better option.
Hoddle’s England played some decent football at the 1998 World Cup and he has arguably been the best boss of the current generation, while ball retention will certainly be among his desired tactics.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.