THE BLOG

The Pet-Project Hasn't Worked: Why It's Time to Sack Stuart Pearce

17/06/2013 00:05 BST | Updated 16/08/2013 10:12 BST

Continuity - when it comes to football managers - is generally seen as a good thing. Constantly changing the head coach of a team is seen to cause disharmony; create divides in the dressing room and overall seen as something that will not lead to long-term success. Chelsea have recently proved that continuity is not always necessary in modern football - collecting multiple European honours whilst housing a managerial merry-go-round at Stamford Bridge.

The notion of sticking by your manager no matter what is perhaps a little naïve. Continuity is a great thing when the man at the helm has a long-term vision; a goal, whilst possessing the resumé to back up this vision. What I'm trying to say is that sticking with a manager is admirable, but should only be done when the right man is in charge.

Stuart Pearce is not the right man for the England Under-21s.

He never has been the right man. Appointed in 2007 in the midst of a lacklustre spell at Manchester City, it seemed as if the FA wanted a pet project. Someone to mould into the England first-team manager some time down the line. That summer, he led the Young Lions to a semi-final. It was seen as a good achievement at the time, but bear in mind England only managed one win from four games before gutlessly surrendering in the second half against a dutch side led by Ryan Babel.

After this apparent success, Pearce was thrown onto new first-team manager Fabio Capello - probably with the hope that the experienced Italian would ready Pearce for the top job one day.

At the 2009 Under-21s European Championship, England were much improved. They reached the semi-finals once again - this time winning two group games - and got past Sweden in the semi-finals. In the final, England were embarrassed 4-0 by a simply brilliant German side, led by Mesut Özil and Mats Hummels.

After two trips to the semi-finals, Pearce somehow failed to win a game with a side that talented current first-team talents like Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott in 2011. England got what they probably deserved in 2007: a group stage exit.

By this point, the knives were out. Pearce had failed. Three tournaments and only three wins inside 90 minutes. It was time for a change.

The FA didn't agree. Pearce not only received a new contract, but was entrusted with Great Britain's Head Coach role for the 2012 Olympics. Desperate to make his mark, Pearce famously left out David Beckham. This foreshadowed a second-round exit, yet again by penalties - this time to an un-fancied South Korea side.

Predictably, England failed at the 2013 Under-21s European Championship - failing to win a single game, for the second time in a row. That isn't even my biggest gripe with the former defender. While the FA can't preach enough about player development and their new centre of excellence, they have employed a manager who's team can't keep possession; attack with any real poise and looked to steal every game they played in.

I don't know how each and every one of you feels about football at the Under-21 level, but for me, it is less about the results and more about developing the players and playing football in a way that should mirror a bigger vision for football in the country. Stuart Pearce's tenure has not only failed to deliver results, but it has provided no vision, no hope and no entertainment for those brave enough to watch.

The hopes for Stuart Pearce to one day be England manager were optimistic to begin with, now they are just laughable. It's time to employ a manager that cares more about how the players caress the ball; how they keep possession; how they play in a tactical system that is consistent among all levels of English Football. It is time to save face and admit the pet-project as failed, it is time to sack Stuart Pearce.