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British managers: Who will be the next dugout superstar?

| 22.12.2021

A look at the best British managers

Only two British managers have lifted the Premier League trophy aloft and since the last of Sir Alex Ferguson’s 13 titles in 2012-13 there has been a conveyor belt of foreign coaches scooping the top domestic prize.  

Here we take a look at the claims of some of the top British managers around and analyse who could be next to add a Premier League title to their CV. 

Brendan Rodgers 

Rodgers is the Brit who has come closest to lifting the Premier League title since Ferguson when his Liverpool side finished second in 2013-14.  

The Reds were five points clear with three games of that season to go, but a Steven Gerrard slip leading to a 2-0 loss to Chelsea handed a reprieve to title rivals Manchester City, who took full advantage when Liverpool went on to chuck away a 3-0 lead at Crystal Palace in their penultimate game of the campaign.

Nevertheless, Rodgers was awarded the LMA Manager of the Year award that season and only two other British managers – Eddie Howe and Chris Wilder – have taken home that trophy since.  

When his time at Anfield came to an end, Rodgers enjoyed a fruitful time north of the border with Celtic, winning seven trophies in a three-year spell at Parkhead.  

He was then lured back to the Premier League by Leicester and has helped them to FA Cup and Community Shield success in recent years, while making them regulars in the top half of the table. 

An all-round gaffer, he has recruited shrewdly at all clubs he has been in charge of and barring his failure to deliver some silverware to the Anfield trophy cabinet, has been a moderate success at most clubs where he has spent time in the dugout.  

He has been linked with the vacant Manchester United managerial position recently and a move to a top-four side looks the obvious next step for the Northern Irishman.  

Brendan Rodgers, British managers

Steven Gerrard 

One of Rodgers’ former proteges and the heir to the thrown at Anfield, it appears only a matter of time before Gerrard is handed the keys to the kingdom 

Having already got a taste for managing a big club when guiding Rangers to a first Scottish Premiership trophy in 10 years, he is getting vital Premier League experience at Aston Villa.  

He has made a fantastic start to life at Villa Park and a career win percentage of 64.25 suggests he is on the way to greatness in his managerial career.  

It is easy to argue that Gerrard’s high-pressing tactics and utilisation of flying full-backs would fit in perfectly at a top club and there is a feeling that every step on his management journey is just extra preparation for when the time comes to take over from Jurgen Klopp at his home club.  

Graham Potter 

Potter’s exploits in the dugout have propelled him right to the front of the queue to replace Gareth Southgate when he eventually calls time on his England tenure.  

His journey to the Premier League is far from the normal and he has arrived at the top flight following roles at Hull University, Ghana women, Sweden and then the Championship.  

It was while in Sweden with Östersund that Potter’s talents first became apparent, guiding the club from the fourth tier of Swedish football all the way to the Europa League where they recorded giant-killing victories over Galatasaray and Arsenal.   

The Brighton manager’s training methods and ability to positively tinker with strategy mid-match has drawn plenty of plaudits in his time on the south coast and there is a chain of thought that he just needs a better quality of player at his disposal to become a real managerial success story.  

Pep Guardiola is a long-time admirer of the 46-year-old, regularly referring to him as “the best English manager right now”. Brighton’s slick passing game is at times reminiscent of Guardiola’s sides and it is not out of the question that Potter follows in the footsteps of the Spaniard and one day occupies the Manchester City dugout.  

He has also been linked to Tottenham, Everton and Aston Villa at various points in the last 12 months. However, football is a result-driven business and Potter’s career win percentage of 38.78 definitely provides questions.

Although Brighton have impressed under his stewardship, statistically there was zero progression in his first two seasons in charge and despite a fast start to the current campaign they have flattered to deceive of late and have surrendered a top-half position.  

Only time will tell if Potter simply needs the players to flourish or his idealistic free-flowing style is simply a myth.  

Graham Potter, Brighton, British managers

Gareth Southgate 

Despite signing a new contract with the Three Lions, the England manager has to be included in this shortlist of British managers and once his time in charge of the national team comes to an end, it would be no surprise to see him thrive in club football.  

Although his sole experience in the day-to-day of club management ended in disappointment, he has developed into a coaching perfectionist whose man-management skills are invaluable when nurturing young talent.  

An organiser to the core, he would ensure a club is run smoothly from top to bottom and could easily thrive with the right backing, although critics would argue his tactical limitations would be exposed in the club game.  

Eddie Howe 

Once the front-runner to replace Southgate in charge of the national team, Howe has seen his position challenged by Potter of late and his stock will be truly tested in his new role with Newcastle. 

Howe’s exploits with Bournemouth have rightly seen him held in high regard in coaching circles, but critics would point out that despite his proficiency on the south coast, one swallow doesn’t make a summer and his record away from the Cherries is open to scrutiny.  

At Bournemouth Howe was brilliant at organising solid professionals and impressionable young talent and the real test of his managerial skills could come when handling high-value talent with more medals on their mantlepiece than the gaffer.  

This could be the case once Newcastle finally open their Saudi war-chest and results on Tyneside could be the biggest indication of Howe’s position on the ladder of British managers.  

Eddie Howe, Newcastle, British managers

Frank Lampard 

Having earned legendary status in his time as a player at Stamford Bridge, Lampard was parachuted into the Chelsea hot-seat after only one season in the managerial ranks, impressing in his time in charge of Derby County, guiding the Rams to the Championship play-off final.  

Lampard dealt with the financial sanctions placed on Chelsea by integrating youngsters such as Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Reece James into the first-team squad and it was difficult to question the results of his first season at Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea making the top four of the Premier League and the FA Cup final.  

One of his biggest talents as a manager is his development of youngsters and having utilised Mount to great effect as a loan signing in his season at Pride Park, he became an integral member of Lampard’s Chelsea first XI. 

A poor start to the 2020/21 season combined with a failure to get the best out of the summer’s big-money buys saw Lampard axed by Roman Abramovich and he has been without a club ever since.  

Frank Lampard, British managers

It is hard to tell what Lampard’s next move in the managerial ranks will be. Although linking up well with former Chelsea ally Jody Morris as assistant, Lampard could benefit in future roles by adding some experience to his back-room team to help with any gaps in his knowledge. 

His tactical short fallings were highlighted at key points in his time at Chelsea and also in Derby’s play-off final loss to Aston Villa. On that occasion the Rams lined up without a recognised striker and with an ageing Ashley Cole entrusted with keeping a thriving Jack Grealish quiet on the vast Wembley pitch.  

A career record of 68 wins from 138 games in the dugout is far from the worst for someone still in the early chapters of their managerial career, although it could be sometime before we see Lampard once again in charge of a club capable of challenging for Premier League titles.  

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Adam Morgan