A new breed of manager has reappeared in recent years, the young tactical manager who knows exactly how to boss around the training ground. It’s a change from what is often expected from a football manager, an ex pro who can bring all his experience and pass it to the next generation of players. These tactical managers often develop from coaches which means they can concentrate on their coaching rather than going through the bother of a successful playing career. And yes I know managers do often play before managing but the situation is totally different to when Roy Keane gave managing a bash, to say, someone like Brendan Rodgers.
Brendan’s football career was tragically cut short by a genetic knee condition but he used his understanding of football to really grow as a coach, travelling the world to study football. Now his extensive years of coaching have given him a fantastic nous for football and he is being described as a brilliant coach by every player he works with. Yet his age defies the logic to be so respected in management, Liverpool’s new owners entrusted him to turn the fortunes of the mighty club around yet he is only 11 months older than rivals Manchester United oldest player. His career at Liverpool now could match that of Sir Alex Fergusons if the Liverpool hierarchy trust in stability to keep the club moving forwards. Sir Alex was was 45 when he took over the reins of United compared to Rodgers at 39. The potential of these new managers is huge but it does not always fulfilled like in any role, especially in football, where any slip of form can mean the axe for the manager.
Can you blame chairmans though? For bringing in young managers who know excactly the style they wish to implement and will do so, often with brilliant outocmes? Take for example the effects that some managers have made in entering the Premier League. Rodgers and Paul Lambert brought in two teams into the Premiership and kept them there comfortably and even though both managers have moved on, both clubs are sitting comfortable under new young managers. On the 18th of August 2009 Paul Lambert joined the Canaries and led them to two successive promotions into the Premier League, after this amazing climb through the divisions Paul left for Villa where he turned the club into a team full of youth. He hasn’t been afraid to use his own striker rather than bow to pressure to play Bent. Using his players and tactics to win games and keep Villa away from trouble. If he keeps Villa up, you can only describe the season as successful.
Rodgers joined an extremely faltering Liverpool and span them into a team who can pass and spread the ball around the pitch. He has also given many chances to youngsters who elsewhere may not have been plying their trade in the first team at such tender ages. This was not seen at Liverpool before where Dagliesh wanted big names and would spend big bucks and in the case of big old Andy Carroll, sometimes unsuccessfully. However you can start to the see the effects of Rodgers game plan, Sterling, Suso, Assaidi, Morgan and Allen all bought in or handed chances are playing well, good investments, who will prove themselves at any costs. As Rodgers said on his trust in his youngsters “The younger players will run through a barbed wire fence for you. Older players will look for a hole in the fence.” He is prepared to entrust in his younger players and the same is true for Chairmans. They want a younger manager who will stand in the rain and snow and boss around players on extortionate pay packets and get them playing for the club.
Another great job in the Premier League that is constantly being overlooked is that of Roberto Martinez at Wigan. He has kept them in the Premier League in the previous three seasons and has admitted that it is getting harder every season to keep them up, yet even with the arrival of Norwhich and Swansea retaining their place it was Bolton and Blackburn who slipped down a tier and Martinez again showed he was one of the best escapist since Houdini. It was no surprise that he was contacted by Liverpool and heavily linked with the job but repaid the faith of Chairman Dave Whelan showed him in. He did remain, to oversee one of the smallest budgets and followings in the Premier League to again cause big teams real trouble and make Wigan one of the neutral football fans favourites.
Currently the youngest manager in the Premiership is Luis Andre de Pina Cabral e Villas-Boas or as he is better known: AVB. At 35 he is the youngest manager to win a European title, has tken Porto through an unbeaten season and managed two of the top clubs in England, not bad when he is younger than Scholes and Giggs. He may have had a tough time at Chelsea but most managers do nowadays but he has done a good job at Tottenham, has got Defoe scoring and got the team playing good football. He has so many years ahead to learn from any mistakes now but mistakes are rare to be seen for a man of such a young age, yet he must have learnt a lot from his Chelsea stint. He epitomises what young coaches can do, use coaching knowledge to get to the top flight quick and learn fast and these managers means the standard of football is improving constantly as the older generation of managers are being challenged time and time again. This creates new and exciting football that will always keep us hooked season after season.
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