Gareth Southgate would have felt "awkward" about applying to be the England Under-21 manager if he had not first contacted Stuart Pearce, his predecessor in the role. Southgate also revealed he has given up his role as a pundit for ITV to concentrate on the job.
On Thursday evening Southgate takes charge of his first Under-21 match, as England start their Euro 2015 qualification campaign against Moldova at the Madejski Stadium. The 42-year-old, a former England team-mate of Pearce during their playing careers, said: "I have spoken to him three or four times over the last month and I have to say he has been brilliant with me. He always said it was a job he loved doing. I didn't play with anybody who was more passionate and prepared to give everything for his country than Stuart. I know he was extremely proud to do this role as well so it is an awkward situation for me to follow him in that respect.
"But having had discussions with him he felt it was something I should apply for and an experience I would really relish. And so that made it acceptable for me to apply. I would have been a little bit uncomfortable applying for it had we not had that conversation because we know each other so well."
During the senior England team's successful Euro 96 campaign Southgate was famously taken by Pearce to a Sex Pistols reunion concert in London's Finsbury Park. "We played with each other for years in the back four so you do get to know someone pretty well. He might call it a concert, but it was the Sex Pistols and I am still recovering," he joked.
Regarding no longer being an ITV pundit, Southgate said: "There are two reasons why I have given it up. One, this is a full time job and when I was working for the FA previously I was only doing a couple of days a week. [Also] I didn't want people thinking that if it wasn't going well I had the life raft, and in my mind I wanted to be a coach and a manager full time. I wanted to show I am fully committed to the job."