By Nilesh Patel
- Sam Allardyce resigns as England manager just 67 days after being appointed
- Resignation comes with mutual consent from FA following newspaper investigation
- England under-21 manager Gareth Southgate will take over in caretaker role
LONDON, ENGLAND – So many names in the frame, but which five managers does Britwatch feel should be considered for the vacant England manager position
Sam Allardyce left his post after just one game in charge of England, following a newspaper sting in which the 61-year-old was alleged to offer advice on how to avoid third party-transfer rules.
Alongside allegedly using his role to negotiate a £400,000 deal to represent a Far East company, the undercover investigation also revealed footage of Allardyce mocking former England manager Roy Hodgson and criticising his assistant Gary Neville.
Allardyce succeeded Hodgson in July and now has become the national side’s shortest-serving manager of all time.
Prior to Allardyce’s appointment, England under-21 manager, Gareth Southgate had no interest in taking up the role neither on a interim nor permanent basis. However, the 46-year-old will now manage the senior side for England’s next four games. Qualifiers against Malta, Slovenia and Scotland as well as a friendly against Spain will give Southgate a platform to maybe even cement the role as his own.
There is no denying that Big Sam was the FA’s first choice at the time, but with his tenure now over and with Southgate seemingly only on trial; who should the FA look to as their long-term saviour?
As with the photo above, there are several names already in the frame, but who are our Top Five picks?
Arsene Wenger, 66
It’s unexpected that Wenger will leave his current contract at Arsenal, but the steadfast Frenchman has previously said he would consider the England role – but only after his contract expires.
Conveniently, the Premier League manager’s contract expires with Arsenal at the end of this season. This would give opportunity for the England FA to offer Wenger the role as his tenure at Arsenal comes to a close.
However, there would be factors at play for Wenger and his current club Arsenal. Having celebrated his 20 year anniversary at the club last week, the man certainly has some Arsenal fans calling for change. However, if he was to lead the London club to Premier League or Champions League success the fans may call for a contract renewal in fear of life after Wenger.
Conversely, a European or title triumph may be the perfect send off for Wenger at the end of this season and he may think he has achieved all that he could for the Gunners.
Under his management Arsenal have won: three Premier League titles, six FA Cups and have qualified for the Champions League on 19 successive occasions.
A career littered with English club success, the honoury Englishman will hardly be short of offers when his contract runs out. Previously, Wenger has been linked with both the England and France national sides and may face trade-off from both associations.
It can be argued that nobody has transformed the English game as much as Wenger in recent times and if the FA do put their faith in the 66-year-old they will hope he can transfer his philosophy into the national side. Although, it is never certain that Wenger could transfer his playing style to a national team with the lack of game and training time compared to club football.
Eddie Howe, 38
Eddie Howe, of Bournemouth, is widely regarded as one of England’s best young managers. Although, without a major trophy to his name, the vibrant manager has achieved three promotions at Bournemouth.
Howe’s capability has solely been built on how he has guided Bournemouth into the Premier League and how he has kept them there without compromising their attractive and energetic playing style.
Howe brought his inexperienced side into the Premier League as champions of the Championship and maintained their Premier League status with what was majorly the same squad. His accomplishment of keeping the club – which has spent most of it’s existence in League One and Two of the football league – in the Premier League is one not to be underestimated. It took Howe just two seasons in the Championship to bring them to the top tier and to do it whilst scoring 98 goals in one single season is a great feat.
At just 38 Howe has demonstrated a competent ability to yield young English talent and to get the most out of his players.
For all the plaudits for Howe, there is always the issue of a lack of experience. Howe is practically the polar opposite to Allardyce, whom has bags of experience and a direct, organised style of play. Whereas Howe is all about passing and using the ball from the back to attack.
Unfortunately for the young manager the vacancy might be too early in his career, having only had success at one club and not with a top calibre of player. It may even take a big move for Howe to really cement his claim to the England helm.
Alan Pardew, 55
The most Allardyce-like candidate in this list, Alan Pardew has not set the world alight with his performances but has rather lingered between steady and wobbly stints at clubs.
The current favourite for the job has had managerial spells at West Ham, Charlton and Newcastle. Now at Crystal Palace, the Englishman has two FA Cup final appearances to his name. Narrowly losing out to Liverpool whilst at West Ham and then last season coming out second to Manchester United.
At most of his clubs Pardew has endured some rotten spells which have led to his departure. Notably last season Pardew could only guide Palace to win two games in the second half of the season, only just clearing them out of the relegation battle.
There is definitely a suspicion as to how Pardew gets himself into periods of upheaval at clubs and this is not something the FA would want for the England dressing room.
Nevertheless, the 55-year-old’s tactics may favour this current England set-up. Pardew prefers to play with an anchor in the centre of midfield like Cheick Tiote or Joe Ledley, this could be a role easily adapted to Eric Dier. Pardew favours the 4-3-3 formation with a pacey wingers which can be just as simply applied to this England side.
Guus Hiddink, 69
Hiddink will undoubtedly provide the stability England need at the moment. Still in recovery from a dismal Euro 2016 performance and now with Allardyce’s debacle, Hiddink will ensure calmness in the England camp.
The Dutchman’s recent jobs at Chelsea have become atypical of Hiddink’s style. Twice he has come into struggling Chelsea sides and turned their season’s around after managerial sackings.
What will be more of an attractive proposition to the FA is his international record. His first international management was of the Dutch national team where he reached the semi-final of the 1998 World Cup, playing some of the best football in the tournament. Shortly after the loss against Brazil, Hiddink resigned.
Hiddink then took over South Korea in 2001 in preparation of their hosting of the 2002 World Cup. The 69-year-old guided the Korean’s to their highest ever finish, placing fourth overall in the tournament, missing out on the final due to a loss against Germany.
Hiddink also experienced tournament joy in Euro 2008, this time with Russia. They reached the semi-final with Hiddink at the helm and featured some exciting football from a young Russian side, which they have since yet failed to replicate.
It is fair to say, Hiddink thrives with teams ‘under the radar’ which does suggest the Dutchman will not suit the pressured environment of managing England. However, their is no hesitation toward his pedigree; he is the most experienced manager on this list with regards to international tournament football.
Jurgen Klinsmann, 52
Klinsmann is a former Premier League player, World Cup, Euro and UEFA Cup winner and is current manager of the USA national team.
Having been named as the German national team coach in 2004, Klinsmann grasped the opportunity to mould together a group of young German talent at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. He included players such as Philip Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski in their first major tournament; players who would be pivotal in Germany’s progress in future years.
Although only reaching the semis, with a third place finish, in their home tournament the finish caused Klinsmann to leave his post. In 2011, he was called to develop the USA national team as their manager.
It was a bumpy start for Klinsmann , losing 4 out his first 6 games. His form picked up however in 2012 and more successfully in 2013, where he won the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2013.
The German received widespread criticism in 2014 when he left star-man Landon Donovan out of the World Cup squad, despite him being the MLS and the national team’s top ever goalscorer Donovan was deemed not good enough for Klinsmann’s squad.
Despite being without the presence of Donovan, USA endured an impressive World Cup, qualifying from the ‘Group of Death’. A win against Ghana and a draw versus Portugal was enough to qualify alongside Germany. There was disappointment however when the US failed to come out on top in one of the games of the tournament against Belgium. Belgium were by no means the better side, they just proved the more clinical side.
Although under contract in the US till 2018, Klinsmann will jump at the chance to experiment with the England set-up and will aim to create a solid footballing infrastructure in England from the youth team’s to the senior squads.
Klinsmann’s strengths seem to come from dealing with young squads where he has authority over a whole nation’s set-up, however at times his technical naivety can see him fall short in tournament football. His tactical frailties have been marked in fourth place finishes at the 2015 Gold Cup and the 2016 Copa America after losses against Panama and Colombia respectively.
England play their World Cup Qualifier against Malta at 5pm.
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