Out With the Old, in With the New: How the Young Managers Have Changed the Landscape

Mourinho is too fading in the post-Fergie and Wenger era

Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho are all names mentioned when talking about the Premier League’s greatest ever. Ferguson is the most successful Premier League manager off all-time, achieving an astounding 13 titles as Manchester United boss, whilst Wenger and Mourinho have three each.

However, football is an ever-changing landscape which is constantly being reshaped and altered, affecting the way in which the beautiful game is played and managed. These changes have brought the Premier League into a new era. An era where the ways in which football was previously managed and coached are expiring, as the greats depart the game every year.

This fact raises questions of whether or not the styles of these legendary figures fit into the new generation of England’s top tier, as Antonio Conte, Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have taken over in recent times.

Although Mourinho is still managing at the top levels of English football, he is nowhere near as successful as he once was with his record-breaking Chelsea side, after an unsuccessful period with Manchester United and struggling Tottenham Hotspur squad.

Clubs are easing into things over the long run now, rather than preparing for immediate responses. Frank Lampard, Ole Gunnar Solskajer and Mikel Arteta are just three names making a name for themselves at the top, rather than screaming for the experienced heads of the world.

Time will tell if this new blueprint of managerial appointments works, but there can be no denying that it has well and truly changed the game. Spurs altered the landscape by hiring Mauricio Pochettino, but went back on their word by hiring Mourinho, which only shows how the younger men are the difference in today's game.

Here, we look at this new Premier League era and managing blueprint.

Out with the old, in with the new

When do we class a manager as old? That in itself is a little hazy and slightly demeaning, compared to labelling a 32-year-old player past his prime as mature. Usually, the terms we tend to describe managers approaching their 70s are 'experienced' or 'old-fashioned'.

Whilst the likes of Mourinho can qualify for a bus pass and Wenger and Ferguson worked past the years of the national retirement age, their wisdom and intelligence should grow like a fine win in this sport. But, against the norm, it never did.

Ferguson is one of the few managers that retired on top late on, whilst Wenger perhaps went on several years longer than he should have, just as Mourinho has been sacked by as many clubs has he has won major trophies in the past five years.

Nowadays, Lampard is building a youthful Chelsea side, Solskajer putting his twist on the Fergie days, whilst overseas, the likes of Julian Nagelsmann are taking Germany by storm with their fresh attacking blueprint.

Since the arrival of Guardiola, the management styles of almost every Premier League club has changed, altering the landscape for clubs and football managers going forward. The styles of Wenger, Mourinho and Harry Redknapp are rapidly fading, with new tactics and regimes being implemented by the younger managers.

English clubs are seemingly adopting the strategy that has proven to be a success already in Spain, with Guardiola, Zinedine Zidane and Pochettino handed their first opportunities in La Liga during a time of rebuild for their respective clubs.

Pochettino was just 37 years old when he was appointed at Espanyol, in 2009, while Guardiola was also just 37 when he was appointed as the Barcelona boss, with both being hailed as some of the best managers in world football nowadays.

United, Chelsea and Arsenal are all sides that have recently adopted the approach of appointing a younger manager to lead them in the Premier League in search of a top four spot and, ultimately, a title charge.

Interestingly, Arsenal have decided to employ Mikel Arteta, 38, over the likes of the safer options of the past. Carlo Ancelotti, a Premier League winner with Chelsea and a three-time Champions League winner was not Arsenal's first choice and as a result, had to settle for Everton instead.

It's not just the 'Big Six'

It's not just the ‘Big Six’ being seen to embrace this approach, as the teams further down the league have also preferred the strategy of hiring a more youthful head coach to take them forward.

Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe has been the club's manager since his 30s and stuck with them throughout their Premier League dream. Brighton & Hove Albion's Graham Potter, Norwich City's Daniel Farke are just two of the names far from the ages of the 65-year-old elite relegation fighter, Sam Allardyce.

Wolverhampton Wanderers' Nuno Espirito Santo is too relatively inexperienced, spending less than a year at both Valencia and Porto as their manager. Now the Portuguese is one of the league's very best and may even be on the radar of heavyweights of European football.

Lower teams are perhaps following in the footsteps from the likes of City and Liverpool, in employing managers for the future who will develop the team as a whole and create foundations rather than only short-term success.

In correlation with the trend of employing a younger manager, is the idea of employing former long-serving players. United, Arsenal and Chelsea have opted for former players who spent a considerable amount of time at their clubs and are brought in as they know the ins and outs of their respective clubs.

Ultimately, it is apparent in the way in which clubs are selecting their managers now that a certain breed of manager is no longer wanted by clubs going into the new era of modern football. The desire for managers, such as Allardyce, Mick McCarthy and Neil Warnock, who employ traditional tactics which are perhaps outdated, is beginning to fade.

The Likes of Steven Gerrard and Duncan Ferguson Could be Next

This may also encourage other Premier League teams to follow suit, such as Duncan Ferguson who had already been considered for a more permanent role at Everton, before Ancelotti took charge.

Steven Gerrard is almost perfectly lined up to take over from Jurgen Klopp in the future, whilst gaining more experience in his current position at Rangers. The Englishman's time in Glasgow will ultimately be deemed unsuccessful if he cannot overtake Celtic for the SPFL crown, but this is more of a testament to the Hoops' unrivalled ability, rather than Gerrard's inability as a manager.

The idea of employing a former player as a boss, particularly when the player had served the club for a long period of time, is rooted in the fact that the player will already have an understanding of the club’s culture and ethos, and will be better suited to managing that club than a manager who is totally new to the club.

It seems the managerial landscape has changed across Europe, with England the biggest bunch of the lot to take this new approach of young and inexperienced managers.

By Bradley Beecham


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