Stuart Pearce had to go but it certainly wasn’t

all his fault.

He did a pretty good job for a tactically limited manager who was extremely restricted by the limited way English football, footballers and top flight managers look down at the Under-21 set up.

All of which make if very unlikely that things will change under a new boss, especially if the F.A. get their wish and employ someone who fills their main criteria for employment by ticking the box next to their very favourite four word phrase in the whole world. Safe pair of hands.

Yes Pearce did the standard English manager routine in getting the team to tournaments with a strong qualification campaign. After all he got ’em to a final back in 2009. A game in which they matched the senior side exertions against the same opposition a year later, they were stuffed by Germany.

That World Cup game the following year also showed up what the English senior doesn’t do with the U-21s. Use them. While Germany had four of that ’09 European championship winning side in it’s starting XI, England had one in the whole squad. Of the 14 German players who played in the ’09 final only one hasn’t gone on to play for a senior international side. The rest have played for Germany’s full team, bar two who have changed national allegiances, one to Poland, one to the USA. Of England’s 14, only 6 have full caps. And of the rest you look and think they wouldn’t have a chance even if England did promote from the youth set up.

That latter problem is the case that Pearce had to face in this last desperately poor tournament. Having to pick from what’s left. Once a player has got a senior cap, him, his club and club manager see representing his country at an age level as some sort of demotion. Most of the managers don’t want their players going off in the summer anyway. What also doesn’t help is the senior England manager taking those eligible away on meaningless friendlies to give ’em 20 minutes in Brazil.

To help England bosses shouldn’t be able to take players away from competitive matches for friendlies. And any player pulling out of playing for England, at any level, without good enough reason – injury obviously – should be barred from playing for the country at any level ever again. Like when Sutton and Bentley said no to an England B team appearance. Should have been it. No more.

Just have to look at last years Olympics to see what is thought of age restricted game in this country. While other teams picked their best side to win, GB used it as reward for the likes of Beckham and Giggs. They wanted Beckham in because he helped win the games for London and poor old Gigs has never been to a World Cup or Euros so lets give him an actually tournament he can go to.

But even if those things are done what will it matter if those safe pair of hands come in and do their usual trick as an England boss. Ron Greenwood. Bobby Robson, Graham Taylor, Svennis, Steve McClaren, Fabio, Roy Hodgson. All pretty much a safe pair of hands.

Gareth Southgate. A safe pair of hands. Or to condense it to one word. Dullard.

You just have to listen to him on ITV where he’s out-gunned by Roy Keane, no great shakes as a manager and Lee Dixon, never a manager. Southgates’ own record as a top flight boss doesn’t fill you with any great hope. It gets even worse with mention of Jamie Carragher and Scott Parker being involved. The former teaching the kids how to grab hold and foul someone when being outclassed and you can’t catch ’em to clog ’em the latter how to turn 180 and play your team mate into trouble while padding your passing stats.

But honestly what does it matter who is in charge if the players are never promoted to the senior side as whoever replaces Roy picks Gerrard, Lampard and tries to recall Terry and Ferdinand?

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