5 Contenders for the England Job

This article looks at 5 managers who the F.A. should focus their attention on if they want England to be rebuilt as a fully functional and effective team. Roy Hodgson gave multiple promising players their debuts, so there is a lot of potential for the next manager to use, but it is obvious that a manager who is disciplined and organised needs to be brought in if England want to avoid losses like the one against Iceland in future.

England seemed to have turned a corner after the abysmal performance at the 2014 World Cup with a perfect qualification campaign for the Euros which was obviously a false dawn. The English national team needs a manager capable of giving them an identity which includes a clear style of play as well as a game plan rather than the chaotic performances that were common in the Euros.

The country also need a manager who is willing to include players in the squad who are on form rather than purely based on reputation as well as play a system that gets the best out of the players instead of playing them out of position which has been a common problem in English football history.


Eddie Howe

Eddie Howe. Courtesy of FourFourTwo.


England has a young gifted generation of players coming through, and Eddie Howe would be a great manager to get the best out of them because of his recent rise through the managerial ranks by taking Bournemouth from League 2 to the Premier League.

His young age means there will be less of an age gap between the players and the manager than there usually is which will help him get to know the players, and understand the qualities of the players which would mean he would know the best system to use for the players at his disposal.

His work at Bournemouth has been amazing so far because he puts forth a clear idea of the style he wants to play which is what England desperately need, and he gets the best out of his players because they believe in his philosophy. An example of this is that Bournemouth often beat their opponents in terms of distance covered in matches due to their dedication to Howe’s style of play.

However, there are a few issues with Eddie Howe. His stint at Burnley didn’t go well which means he hasn’t been able to replicate his success with Bournemouth anywhere else. Also, his style of play is very sapping in terms of energy which could cause injuries for the players after their long intense seasons with the Premier League clubs.

However, I think the benefits outweigh the negatives. Therefore, I would be happy with the F.A. if they gambled on the youthfulness of Howe to bring about a revolution in the national team as England manager.


Alan Shearer

Alan Shearer. Courtesy of Chronicle Live
Alan Shearer. Courtesy of Chronicle Live


Alan Shearer made quite a compelling argument on Match of the Day for why he should at the very least be involved in the English setup. It was also suggested that Rio Ferdinand could be involved as well as a coach or they could be joint managers. The most convincing part of their overall argument was that they both have a lot of experience in terms of playing for England which is useful knowledge to give the players in major tournaments because of the inevitable pressure that comes their way.

Another benefit for the both of them is that they are excellent and experienced pundits with the often making outstanding pieces of analysis whenever they make an appearance on BBC’s football coverage, so they clearly understand modern football because their knowledge isn’t just limited to the Premier League.

The only problem with them both is their lack of managerial experience which is one of the key areas that the F.A. are looking for in candidates. There is also the point that being a good pundit doesn’t necessarily make them a good manager as Gary Neville found out in his time at Valencia.

If Shearer or the both of them were chosen it would be an interesting choice, and there certainly wouldn’t be a lack of commitment or effort on their behalf. However, whether they would succeed is a different matter. It would be a great shame if the both of them weren’t included in the setup at all especially after their appeal to the F.A. because their experience would be valuable for the players, and helpful to any manager coming in.


Slaven Bilic

Slaven Bilic. Courtesy of kwesports.
Slaven Bilic. Courtesy of kwesesports.


With the F.A. chief Martin Glenn announcing that they aren’t looking exclusively at English managers, it raises hopes that they may look at foreign managers in the Premier League such as Slaven Bilic who has previous experience in international management as the Croatian boss.

The fact that he has experience and success in international management makes him a good target for the F.A. because he helped bring through a talented generation of footballers in Croatia, so there’s a strong chance he could do the same with England’s current gifted players.

Slaven Bilic has also proven himself recently due to brilliant first season at West Ham where has managed to get them play enjoyable attacking football as well as getting the best out of individual players such as Dimitri Payet who previous to the last season had been very inconsistent. This means that he might be in the front of the F.A. officials minds because of his recent attention in the previous year which may make him one of the targets they go after.

He has proved at West Ham that he is an expert at tactics because of his brilliant record against the top six due to him winning 5 matches against them, and he only lost three matches which is impressive considering they are each strong teams.

The only problem is that he looks unlikely to leave West Ham because of him only having one successful year there so far as well as the fact that they are starting an ambitious project which is heralded by their move into the Olympic stadium and he looks a big part of this. This means that any attempt to make him move will have to be very persuasive with a lucrative financial package probably being one of the incentives, so that lowers the chances somewhat of him becoming England manager.


Jurgen Klinsmann

Jurgen Klinsmann. Courtesy of NBC sports.
Jurgen Klinsmann. Courtesy of NBC sports.


Jurgen Klinsmann is an attractive prospect because of his apparent speciality in international management after guiding hosts Germany to the Semi Finals of the 2006 World Cup after their abysmal performance in the 2004 Euros. He is currently the head coach of the United States national team with the improvement in the team during his current five year stint being visible for all to see.

His focus on youth, tactical astuteness and ability to rebuild teams suits the English setup because England’s current youthful generation has potential, but needs to be guided by a smart manager in order to develop the right mental attitude as well as improve their tactical ability in order to feel at home in multiple systems.

Klinsmann has won multiple Gold cups as US boss which shows he can bring tournament glory to a country. Granted this isn’t quite the World Cup or the Euros in terms of the quality of teams present. However, Mexico are the eternal rivals of the US, and he was able to beat them multiple times in the tournament and in friendlies.

He was also able to beat teams such as Italy, Netherlands, and Germany with the US which were important milestones for the team in terms of how much they had progressed. He was able to take the US to the Round of Sixteen in the 2014 World Cup after progressing from the ‘group of death’ with them losing to Belgium in extra time in a hard fought game.

There was also the recent Copa America Centenario which the US were hosts of, and Klinsmann was able to guide them to fourth place which was their joint best finish in the tournament, so he has certainly delivered during his time as the US national manager.

It may take a lot to pry him away from his comfortable American lifestyle because he seems to enjoy his position, and it seems to suit him. There is also the fact that English fans may not appreciate someone from the traditional rivals taking charge of the national team, but as English Rugby showed with their appointment of Australian Eddie Jones sometimes that can be the best thing to do after a disappointing performance in a major tournament.

Personally, I think he would be the best appointment out of all the potential choices due to his experience in international management, and his credentials mentioned above. He has supposedly stated that he would be interested in the role as well which is promising.


Rafa Benitez

Rafa Benitez. Courtesy of Eurosport.
Rafa Benitez. Courtesy of Eurosport.


Rafa Benitez is an experienced manager with English football being one of the leagues that he has spent plenty of time in, so he has vast knowledge of it which is one of the main requirements for the job.

He also has a reputation as a cup specialist after winning the Champions League with Liverpool in that famous night in Istanbul which will live long in the memory, and winning the Europa League with Chelsea. This is obviously useful in international management due to the format of the major tournaments which are group stages and then knockout rounds.

It would be relatively easy to pry away Rafa from Newcastle because of their recent relegation into the Championship which is a bit of a step down for him, and the England job is a major job for any manager although it can easily destroy any promising career due to the pressure and expectations surrounding it.

The style of management that Benitez brings would suit England because he focuses on discipline and organisation with the little details being key which is what England need to bridge the gap that is currently between them and the big teams in the world when they play in major tournaments.

The only problem with Benitez is that he hasn’t managed an international team which is important because there is major differences between national and club management due to the limited amount of time managers have with national teams because of the hectic league schedules.

There is also the point that he seems to be starting a project with Newcastle who as said above are in the Championship, but it depends how persuasive he finds the English job, and whether he thinks he will benefit from taking it as well as possibly abandoning Newcastle which might negatively affect his reputation.

Rafa might be a risk because of his limited experience in international management, but his vast knowledge of football in Europe and England in particular would help him get used to this role in a short amount of time.

By Matt

Matt is the owner and chief-editor of the Footy Blog, one of the UK's leading football news blogs.