Former Blackburn Rovers and Portsmouth boss Michael Appleton is a shock favourite for the England U21 job.

The Daily Star says Appleton, who has had three managerial jobs in the last 19 months, looks to have a great chance of succeeding Stuart Pearce, who was axed yesterday.

The 37-year-old worked for Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson and FA director of elite development Dan Ashworth at West Brom as assistant manager.

And last month Hodgson invited Appleton to watch England train at St George's Park before the friendly with the Republic of Ireland.

Hodgson and Ashworth will be ­involved in picking the next Under-21 boss and with Appleton out of work following a troubled stint at Blackburn, he appears nailed on for the role.