Has Stuart Pearce set himself up for a fall?

Stuart Pearce, as a manager, very much landed on his feet with the England Under-21 gig. His time at Manchester City is remembered as a failure, with his final season only bringing 10 goals from 19 home games. So how did he get his current job, and will he be continuing past the European Championships, as he wishes?

Perhaps somewhat fortunately for Pearce, he had already been appointed as manager of the Under-21s in February 2007, before Man City wielded the axe at the end of that season. At the time of his appointment, it was on a part-time basis, but a combination of his club job ending and the run to the semi-finals against the Netherlands led to him earning a permanent shot at the job.

Six years later, and how has he done? Such a managerial position should not be judged entirely on results, as such logic is something youth football in this country has thankfully tried to move away from. Still, a Euro 2009 final appearance, albeit one that ended in a 4-0 defeat to Germany, was a huge feather in Pearce’s cap. Some of the criticism after the Euro 2011 group-stage knock-out saw him presumably quite close to the sack, but some quality youngsters have emerged from his time in charge.

Wilfred Zaha, Jordan Henderson, and Thomas Ince have all progressed over the past year or two, and while it is debatable how much influence Pearce has had over this, he is ensuring they get experience at the highest level.

Heading into Euro 2013 on the back of nine games without conceding, Wednesday’s opening 1-0 defeat to Italy came as a huge disappointment, with Pearce describing the performance as ‘awful’. With Norway to come tonight, the ex-Nottingham Forest defender will need a brighter performance (and yes, result) if his own future as a manager is to be a bright one. Chairmen all over the country look for managers with a winning mentality, and success at any level can only breed confidence.

Pearce may want to stay in his current position, but the silence from those above him is deafening, and this summer may prove make or break.