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Boot Room: Howe about an Englishman for a change?

Foreign appointments are killing opportunities for home-grown coaches

Gulf News

The vitriol towards Arsene Wenger will no doubt reach fever pitch (again) at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday when Arsenal inevitably bow out of the Champions League last 16 to Bayern Munich.

Having lost 5-1 away to Bayern in the first leg, Wenger then dropped best player Alexis Sanchez ahead of the 3-1 loss away to Liverpool on Saturday, which saw them drop out of the Premier League’s top four.

It seems the end is nigh for the Frenchman, but even before that’s been confirmed reports are already linking Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri with the hotseat.

While Allegri comes with a pedigree having won three Serie A titles, you can’t help but question the way top English sides instinctively lean towards foreign managers.

Eddie Howe at Bournemouth had been tipped to succeed at both England and Arsenal after taking the Cherries from the depths of the fourth tier to the Premier League in just five-and-a-half seasons.

But when it comes to the crunch, it seems no-one is actually willing to give him a chance, despite his achievements being definitely worthy of a shot at a bigger club.

Instead, Arsenal appear — because at this stage it’s only reports that have been denied by Allegri — to be opting for a man who has no experience of English football, and does not speak the best English.

Just what does an Englishman have to do to get a mention?

Cast your mind back, and the last English manager to be involved at a top — and I say that loosely — English club, would have been Harry Redknapp at Tottenham or Roy Hodgson at Liverpool, and that was a good five years ago now.

An English manager has never won the Premier League title, and in fact the last one to win the old first division, as it was previously known, was Howard Wilkinson at Leeds United, the season before it became the Premier League in 1992.

It’s not that the talent isn’t there, Paul Clement has more than served his apprenticeship as assistant manager at Chelsea, Paris Saint Germain, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, but the best job he could get was with relegation threatened Swansea.

He’s done very well to get them clear of the drop since taking over but only after the club initially entrusted an American with no top-flight league experience in Bob Bradley.

Out of the 20 Premier League clubs, 13 currently have English captains but only five have English coaches, so it just goes to show clubs are willing to entrust home grown talent with leadership on the pitch, but not off it.

For someone like Howe, what’s the next move? If the Arsenal job gets taken up by Allegri that leaves the top four block booked by foreigners for another few years. Then he may have to aim for a mid-table side with loftier ambitions like Everton, so there’s undoubtedly a glass ceiling for English managers, who get overlooked for a lack of top experience, but ironically don’t get the chance to prove themselves at the highest level. I’d hazard a guess that if England’s greatest manager of all-time, Brian Clough, was around now, he’d probably either be a pundit or in charge of a yo-yo Championship side. Legendary former Arsenal defender Tony Adams, meanwhile, a one-time shoe-in for the Arsenal job, was last at work with Gabala of Azerbaijan in 2011.

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SPORT PICTURE OF THE DAY: March 19, 2018


Juan Martin Del Potro holds the championship trophy after defeating Roger Federer (not pictured) in the men's finals in the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

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