Man City defender Richards: Pearce is England class
Under-21 boss Pearce is currently in interim charge of the senior national team following Fabio Capello's resignation in February.
Richards said: "I do want to see Pearce there, but I don't want him to take it too soon and not be given a fair chance.
"I'd rather him keep with the Under-21s and keep progressing there. Eventually he will be the right man for the job."