New England contract not a priority for Stuart Pearce

The Under-21 manager is fully focussed on the European Championships in Israel this summer and says talks about his future can wait until the tournament finishes
Stuart Pearce says talks over his future as manager of the England Under-21 side can wait until the conclusion of the European Championships in June.

The former Nottingham Forest defender has been in the role since 2007, but says he is unfazed about having to wait until the summer to discuss staying on in the position.

"It is not a major priority for myself," he told reporters ahead of the Under-21s' game with Sweden on Tuesday.  "The tournament is more important for me.

"The last thing we've heard was probably it might be deferred to the summer."

13/20 England Under-21s are 13/20 with BetVictor to beat Sweden Under-21s on Tuesday
Pearce has guided the side to four tournaments in his six years in charge, and he says the current crop of players are as good as any he has seen throughout his tenure.

"Once one group go through to the seniors, all of a sudden another group of youngsters comes through.

"The likes of Derby midfielder Will Hughes and Southampton full-back Luke Shaw have just come into the group and they excite me as well. Will has had a good season.

"I'm good friends with Nigel Clough so I keep in close contact about how he is doing at Derby. We are pleased with his development and have to make sure that we nurture that development."

Pearce is also keen to emphasise how important international youth football is to success with the senior side, a sentiment that is supported by Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson.

"My stance has been the same for the last six years, that every time you go to a major tournament you should go with your best possible available players at that age group," Pearce added.

"It is guided from Roy from above. I will pick the best possible available players to take a tournament on to give the players more experience at international level. Roy has made it clear he wants to send a really strong squad to the Under-21s.

"I'm always of the opinion when I look at Spain, France, Germany, how they've won things at the younger age groups before they've stepped up and conquered the world and Europe.

"We have to do the same. For me it's fantastic news. We have to make sure that is delivered upon."