The top contenders to replace Stuart Pearce as England Under-21s manager

Phil Neville could be the man to replace Stuart Pearce. Photo: PA

The departure of Stuart Pearce as England Under-21s manager leaves the Football Association with an important decision to make.

Here we look at the early contenders to succeed the former international full-back.

GARETH SOUTHGATE

The overwhelming favourite with bookmakers to succeed Pearce as Young Lions boss. The former Middlesbrough manager worked as the FA's head of elite development until last year and is 1/5 to take the mantle.

GLENN HODDLE

The former England boss would be a popular choice with many, although his relationship with the FA could prove factious. Hoddle was a major critic of the Under-21s during their woeful display at the European Championship and would only accept if the current national set-up was overhauled.

MICHAEL APPLETON

For someone sacked by Blackburn earlier this year, his name may raise a few eyebrows. However, Appleton, who has also managed Portsmouth and Blackpool, has a good relationship with senior manager Roy Hodgson from their time at West Brom, where he also worked alongside Dan Ashworth, the FA's director of elite development.

PHIL NEVILLE

Having confirmed his retirement, Neville is looking at moving into the coaching side of football. A part of the Under-21 coaching staff at the European Championship in Israel, he has been heavily linked with the backroom staff at Manchester United.