Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Gerrard and Lampard - Future England Managers?

Yesterday the FA interviewed Gareth Southgate to assess his suitability to take on the England manager role on a permanent basis. If he gets the job, which he seems likely to do seeing as he's the only candidate, he would become the 8th former England international to become England manager, and the first since Kevin Keegan left the role in 2000.

Looking at the records of the other 7 (Alf Ramsey, Joe Mercer, Don Revie, Bobby Robson, Terry Venables, Glenn Hoddle, and Kevin Keegan) gives no indication of whether it's better to have a former player in charge or not. However, it's worth noting that England's 3 best tournament finishes (winners in 1966, semi finals in 1990 and 1996) were all masterminded by former players - Ramsey, Robson and Venables. Despite this, there seems to be no public clamour for Southgate to take over.

Southgate is one of many former footballers to make the move to management, but very few of England's best players seem to have in recent years. Would the England team have had more success than their poor showings over the last decade or so if Alan Shearer, Gary Linker or John Barnes had been in charge? Maybe, maybe not, but it does seem logical that if your best players become coaches they should have something to pass on to the next generation.

Which is why it would be good news for English football if Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, both of whom announced their departure from the MLS league last week, move into coaching roles. Gerrard has already been linked with the vacancy at MK Dons, although it looks as though this is now not going to happen, and Lampard surely has the pedigree for management given who his father and uncle are. They are likely to both receive plenty of offers to become pundits, but wouldn't it be better for English football to see them bringing through the next generation of England stars?

English domestic football could benefit from having more English managers as well as the national side, and the two could be inextricably linked, as German football was able to prove when it reinvented itself after their disappointing 2000 European Championships. German clubs worked together with the national set-up to come up with a system and style of play that players could become familiar with and club and country level, with the results being a World Cup win, another final and 2 semi-finals, a European Championship final and 2 semi-finals as well as 2 Champions League wins and 4 other finalists. Former German internationals Jurgen Klinsmann, Rudi Voller, Klaus Toppmuller and Jupp Heynckes featured amongst the coaches.

There is of course no guarantee that good players become good managers. Gary Neville recently struggled with his first permanent role in Spain, and Ryan Giggs seems to finding it difficult to land a job at all. But surely the likes of Gerrard and Lampard would be able to add value to any team, once they've completed their coaching badges.

As long as they don't try to coach together...