London: Former England defender Gareth Southgate has been appointed as the new coach of the England Under-21 team on a three-year contract, the Football Association announced on Thursday.
Southgate succeeds Stuart Pearce, whose contract was not renewed after England crashed out of the European Championships in Israel in June after three consecutive defeats.
"I'm delighted to get this role and extremely excited about the prospect of working with the best and brightest young players in the country," said Southgate.
"I'm a proud Englishman and playing for my country was the pinnacle of my playing career.
"Since retiring as a player I have gained a lot of knowledge and experience of the game both here and abroad, and I'm eager to play my part in preparing players to compete at the highest level.
"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."
Southgate, 42, turned out for Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough during his playing career and after retiring in 2006, he spent three years as manager of Middlesbrough.
He made 57 international appearances for England, scoring two goals, but is perhaps best remembered for failing to score a penalty in a shoot-out against Germany in the semi-finals of the 1996 European Championship, which led to the host nation being eliminated.