Stuart Pearce is facing an uncertain future as the England Under-21 manager after preliminary talks about whether the Football Association wants him to stay in the job were put off until the summer.
Pearce has been told that a decision will be made after the Under-21 European Championship in Israel in June. His contract expires at the same time and, at the England player awards, the 50-year-old accepted he may be "out of work" if they do not have a good tournament.
His team won all six games last year without conceding a goal, and senior figures at the FA, including the chairman, David Bernstein, were confident enough to appoint him as caretaker manager for the senior team after Fabio Capello's resignation a year ago.
However, Roy Hodgson decided not to keep Pearce as part of his backroom staff for Euro 2012 and will have a considerable say in what happens next, too.
Hodgson, who will be consulted by the FA, has to decide whether he wants to bring in his own man, which means Pearce will work in uncertainty over the last four months of his contract.
"I suppose if they [the FA] were not comfortable with that, they'd have probably come up to me and put a contract under my nose," Pearce said. "In the discussions I've had, the guidance I've had, the FA would prefer to wait until the summer, which probably I would too."
Pearce, who is considering starting Manchester United's new signing Wilfried Zaha in attack when the Under-21s play Sweden at Walsall on Tuesday, would not confirm whether he wanted to continue in the job beyond the summer or try to re-establish himself in club management six years after his last job, at Manchester City.
"I enjoy what I do, it's a fantastic job, a fantastic environment to work in. But really my focus at the moment just takes me to the summer, then there will be a conversation between myself and the FA. I think for both parties we're happy to sit tight and then have a chat in the summer."
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