In a very unexpected twist to the season, the England manager’s job has become available again.
Sam Allardyce left the role by “mutual agreement” on Tuesday after a newspaper investigation claiming he offered advice on how to “get around” rules on player transfers, having been appointed by the Football Association only two months ago.
England Under-21 manager Gareth Southgate will take charge of the national team for the next four games, on an interim basis.
He is a possible candidate to fill the vacancy as the FA, once more, begins its search for a new England manager.
Here are the contenders:
Alan Pardew, 55
Nationality: English Current job: Crystal Palace
He is the current favourite but has Pardew changed his tune from the summer when he suggested he was not ready to become England manager?
Record: Similar to Allardyce in that he has not pulled up any trees during a 17-year career but rather hovered between ‘steady’ and ‘teetering’. Poor runs at West Ham, Charlton and Newcastle led to him leaving his positions.
His current club, Palace, endured a rotten second half of the 2015-16 season, winning only two games. They did, however, reach the FA Cup final – the second time Pardew has led a team to the final.
Tactics: Pardew prefers to play a 4-3-3, which includes an ‘enforcer’ sitting in midfield as we saw with Cheick Tiote at Newcastle and James McArthur at Palace and pacey wide forwards. A 4-3-3 formation was utilised by Allardyce’s predecessor, Roy Hodgson, during Euro 2016.
Man-management: Former Palace striker Dwight Gayle gave this eulogy in January 2015 after Pardew had guided the club to their third straight win since taking over the previous month.
“He has boosted our confidence. He gives everyone little pats on the back, talks to people individually, he has got everyone going,” said Gayle.
But, as already mentioned, he has struggled with teams after making an initial impact.
Steve Bruce, 55
Nationality: English Current job: Available
The former Hull manager was the only other person to have been approached by the Football Association to replace Hodgson in the summer.
Bruce left Hull shortly after that announcement and has been out of work since. He has recently been touted as a replacement for Mark Hughes at Stoke City, with the Potters struggling.
Record: When comparing his Premier League win percentage to those in the running and managing in the top flight, Bruce fares badly. Based on statistics collated up until the end of last season, his win record is just 28.1% – worse than Pardew and Allardyce. He has, however, led both Birmingham and Hull to two promotions from the Championship. He also led Hull to the 2014 FA Cup final.
Tactics: Bruce was keen on a 3-5-2 formation at Hull, which might suit the more attack-minded England full-backs Kyle Walker, Danny Rose and Luke Shaw.
Man-management: Bruce is understood to have a good rapport with his players. Ex-Hull goalkeeper Steve Harper likened him to former Newcastle boss Sir Bobby Robson.
“He has that human touch,” the Sunderland keeper said in 2013.
Eddie Howe, 38
Nationality: English Current job: Bournemouth
Bournemouth’s Howe is widely recognised as one of the best young English managers. Is he too inexperienced though?
Preparation: Howe’s ability to guide Bournemouth into the Premier League and keep them there without sacrificing their attractive playing style has won praise.
In an interview in 2015, he said: “I look for several things. Playing ability, of course, and where they fit into the team.
“I am very much against signing a player who is good, but you don’t know where he will fit in.
“You think, ‘I will mould him into the team’, but that usually doesn’t work.”
Would he be brave enough to drop established England stars in order to ensure the pieces fit?
Tactics: Almost the polar opposite of Allardyce. With Howe, it is about an attacking, passing style with the ball being played out from the back.
But like Allardyce, he is steadfast in his belief his approach to the game is the right one.
Man-management: An insightful interview with the Guardian in 2014 revealed Howe’s acute attention to detail and work ethic.
It also highlighted his care for the individual.
“I always think it’s important you give players feedback,” he said. “It’s something that I never really got. You just played game to game, hoping you were doing all right, never really being told. I’ll always do the feedback on an individual basis.
“It’s probably my biggest drain in terms of time, but I think it’s one of the most important aspects.”
Stat: Last season, Howe’s Bournemouth conceded 20 goals from set-pieces – twice as many as Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal.
Gareth Southgate, 46
Nationality: English Current job: England Under-21s
Former England defender Southgate is already an FA man, having been in charge of the Under-21 side since 2013. As a consequence he has worked with many of the current senior side.
Southgate had no interest in succeeding Hodgson in the summer, neither on an interim nor permanent basis. However, now he will take charge of the side for four games – will he hold a different view after that stint?
Record: His first managerial job was at Middlesbrough in 2006, where he took over from Steve McClaren despite not having the necessary coaching qualifications. He kept them in the top flight for two seasons, but the Teessiders were relegated the following campaign. Southgate was eventually sacked in October 2009, despite a good start to the Championship season.
As for the England U21s, he has failed to guide the side past the group stage at two successive European Championship finals.
But is his luck changing? This year Southgate took charge of the England Under-20s for the Toulon Tournament, which they won with a 2-1 victory over France.
Tactics: Southgate has worked closely with the FA’s technical director, Dan Ashworth, who was appointed in 2012. Ashworth has wanted the Under-15s through to the Under-21s to stick to a 4-3-3 formation. and “possession-based, counter-attacking” football.
When suggested that Southgate knew the English “system”, former Spurs boss Harry Redknapp said: “Knows what system? The losing system? He knows the losing formula?”
Will the Under-21 boss be allowed to be more his own man if he gets the senior job?
Glenn Hoddle, 58
Nationality: English Current job: Football media analyst
If it wasn’t for those pesky penalties against Argentina, and then later his “serious error of judgement” when he made comments about disabled people, we might today be talking about how Hoddle had led England to a major football title.
Following Hodgson’s departure, the former boss said: “If I am asked to speak to the FA, my answer would be, ‘any proud Englishman would want to discuss such an opportunity’. I would consider and listen to what the FA said.”
Preparation: Hoddle loved to join in with the training sessions, with some suggesting he was simply keen to still show he ‘had it’.
His participation didn’t go down well with some players of that era, but former internationals Alan Shearer and Rio Ferdinand have backed their former boss for a second crack at the job.
Hoddle was the talk of the back pages when Eileen Drewery, a faith healer, visited the England camp before the 1998 World Cup.
Full-back Gary Neville, in 2011, recalled some players also took injections from Hoddle’s favourite medic and prior to a match the manager would “move around the players, shaking their hands and touching them just over the heart”.
Tactics: In a piece with ESPN after England’s Euro 2012 exit, Hoddle said he was in favour of packing the midfield in order to hunt the ball higher up the pitch.
A creative midfielder as a player, it is no surprise he is keen on ball retention rather than lumping it into the box from deep.
He also liked the sweeper system in his first stint in change, once even trying midfielder Jamie Redknapp in the defensive role.
Does he have right players in the current crop to fulfil his philosophies?
Stat: Hoddle’s win percentage as England manager – 60.7% – is the third best behind Fabio Capello and Sir Alf Ramsey.
Jurgen Klinsmann, 52
Nationality: German Current job: United States
He is a former Premier League player, a World Cup winner, an ex-manager of Germany and the current boss of the United States.
Preparation: In an interview with the BBC in 2009, when he was Bayern Munich manager, Klinsmann said he introduced a “holistic” approach to preparation, but added it had not gone down too well at the German giants.
He has repeated this avant-garde approach with the USA team, with mixed results, but has also spent time trying to create a solid infrastructure for the national team from youth level upwards.
Under his guidance, the US reached the knockout round of the 2014 World Cup and in 2016 got to the last four of their home Copa America.
Tactics: Klinsmann has at times been lambasted for his tactical naivety during his managerial tenures.
Former Germany full-back Philipp Lahm said in 2011: “The experiment with Klinsmann was a failure. We were only working on our fitness in training. He didn’t care much for tactical stuff. It was up to the players to come together before a match and discuss how we were going to play.”
Man-management: While Lahm and other Bayern players didn’t necessarily warm to Klinsmann, it is worth noting how he revived Germany between 2004 and 2006. After going out in the first round of Euro 2004, reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup was a distinct improvement and led to the previously critical Franz Beckenbauer hoping Klinsmann continued as coach.
Stat: Klinsmann has a win ratio of 57% as USA coach.
Alan Shearer, 46
Nationality: English Current job: Football media analyst
The former England captain and striker revealed in June that he had approached the FA “four or five years ago” and said he wanted the England job. Shearer was told he did not have the experience.
Would the FA take a risk and appoint one of the leading figures in English football over the past 25 years?
Record: Shearer has only managed eight games, and lost five of them. All of those were at Newcastle, where their former player could not prevent the club from going down to the Championship during the 2008-9 season.
Arsene Wenger, 66
Nationality: French Current job: Arsenal
It is unlikely the 66-year-old’s stance has changed since July when he said he would consider the England role – but only after the end of his contract at Arsenal, which expires next summer.
Record: Under his management Arsenal have won: three Premier League titles, six FA Cups and qualified for the Champions League on 19 successive occasions. He has the best record of all the candidates and his club are currently riding high in the league.
Preparation: The Frenchman’s training methods have been blamed for causing injuries to Arsenal players. However, statistics for the first half of last season reveal the Gunners had fewer injuries than Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United.
“The general plan is to play in training like you do in the game, or even harder,” he told the club website in April 2015. “But some days you have to ease off completely and not have the intensity because you need to recover after games. But basically you need to give the players the same intensity they will face in a game.”
- In Short: Arsene Wenger – next England manager?
Tactics: Do England have the players that can skilfully knock the ball around the area and almost walk the ball into the net?
Man-management: In a Q&A session in Japan in 2013, this is what the Frenchman said about managing star players:
“You must know that a person – no matter how big a star he is – is ready to listen to you if it meets his needs. The condition for him to know if you meet his needs is to test you first: Is the manager capable of making him the player he wants to be.”
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