Gareth Southgate

Former Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate has been unveiled as the new England Under 21′s boss, signing a three-year contract, reports BBC.

The 42-year old former England international replaces Stuart Pearce who was let go following a disastrous performance at the recent Under 21 European Championship, where the Three Lions were knocked out at the group stage without registering a single win.

Southgate made over 50 appearances as an England player in a career that saw him play for Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough who he captained to Carling Cup success in 2004.

Since leaving his role as manager at the Riverside Stadium, Southgate was appointed as the FA’s Head of Elite Development before leaving the post in July of last year.

In recent times he has regularly appeared as a pundit for ITV’s football coverage alongside the likes of Roy Keane and Lee Dixon, but is now faced with the task of bringing through the next generation of English footballing talent.

Upon accepting the position, Southgate said: “I’m extremely excited about the prospect of working with the best and brightest young players in the country.”

Southgate, who was favourite among the bookies to succeed Pearce, will start work with immediate effect, with his first match in charge being the  2015 European Championship qualifier versus Moldova on the 5th September at Reading’s Madejski Stadium, before his side go on their travels as they face Finland just four days later.

He continued: “I’m a proud Englishman and playing for my country was the pinnacle of my playing career.”

Adding: “Whenever any team steps onto the pitch for England, being successful is of huge importance, but it is also about developing a clear style of play that can allow our talented young players to flourish.”

Part of his task is to also oversee the coaches from Under 16 right up to Under 20 level, the latter of which the Watford born defender is familiar with having been a part of the Under 20 World Cup coaching staff in 2011.

Naturally, he will also work closely with senior boss Roy Hodgson who took charge of the Under 21′s last match, a 6-0 friendly win over Scotland at Bramall Lane earlier this month.

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This article was first posted on August 23, 2013