England’s golden generation: How have their managerial careers fared?
England’s golden generation failed to live up to the lofty expectations placed upon them in their playing days, with the Three Lions’ tournament record between 2000 and 2010 reading Group Stage, Quarter Final, Quarter Final, Quarter Final, failed to qualify, Round of 16. Hardly inspiring stuff.
But, fast forward a decade and some of the most talented players of their generation have moved into management. So, how have they fared? 101 takes a look.
Wayne Rooney almost pulled off a fairytale in charge of Derby County this season, having kept them in the Championship in 2020-21 as the club went through financial turmoil.
The Rams were deducted 21 points as a result of their off the pitch issues, yet Rooney kept fighting, and turned down the opportunity to jump ship when the Everton job became available midway through the season.
With a threadbare squad, which just days before the season started consisted of just 9 outfield players, Derby still managed 13 wins and 13 draws as the dream of a fairytale escape lived on through much of the season, before finally coming crashing down with just three games left of the 46-game campaign.
Had the deduction not been in place, Rooney’s side would have been sitting pretty in 17th place, on 52 points and 11 clear of relegation. As a result, it is unfair to look at the Manchester United and England legend’s achievements through the lens of relegation.
Premier League clubs will continue to come sniffing around the Derby man, but he seems to have made it his own personal mission to get the club back into the Championship next season.
Tactical abilities: B
Man management: A
Overall grade: A
It was always going to be tough to come close to the ‘Invincibles’ defender’s achievements off the pitch when Sol Campbell turned his hand to management, but his tenure in the dugout has not gone the way that the former Arsenal man would have wanted.
His first season in management, taking charge of League 2 Macclesfield Town, suggested that the Englishman was set for a glittering career in management, keeping his side up on the final day of the season after taking the job with the club glued to the bottom of the English football league and five points adrift.
However, that was as good as it got for Campbell, who left the club that summer by mutual consent before demanding £180,000 pounds of late wages during a wind-up of the club later that year.
Picked up by Southend in October 2019, he was thoroughly hamstrung by a lack of finances. And when COVID-19 hit and the league was finished, his side sat second from bottom and a massive 16 points from Football League safety.
Tactical abilities: C
Man management: C
Overall grade: C
It is safe to say that, thus far, Lampard’s stint in the dugout has not proven quite as successful as his legendary playing career across the Premier League landscape.
The ex-England international began his managerial endeavours in the Championship, when he took up the reins at Derby County ahead of the 2018-19 campaign. A largely positive season followed, albeit one which saw Lampard’s Rams fall at the final hurdle – the playoff final – in their efforts to regain top-flight status.
One group, though, who evidently felt as though the 43-year-old had done enough to prove himself worthy of an opportunity on an altogether grander stage were those in a position of power at Chelsea. Lampard, in turn, went on to seal a return to Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2019 amid widespread fanfare.
After a debut campaign on the bench in west London which saw his Blues slip to a 4-0 opening day drubbing at the hands of Manchester United, and defeat in the finals of both the UEFA Super Cup and FA Cup, though, questions soon began to spread when it came to the former Chelsea midfielder’s tactical nous. Lampard appeared to have done enough to dispel such concerns on the back of a fine start to the 2020/21 season, which saw the Pensioners, as the turn of the year approached, top both the Premier League table and their Champions League group.
But disaster lay in wait. An alarming stretch of just two wins in eight in the English top-flight were interspersed by claims of mounting unrest on the part of the club’s stars, bemused by their manager’s relentless line-up tinkering.
Lampard was, as a result, dismissed late in January of 2021, with the immediate success enjoyed by the man installed in his place – Thomas Tuchel – having only resulted in further scrutiny when it comes to just badly Chelsea were in fact underperforming under the watch of their one-time midfield icon.
A lengthy stint watching on from the sidelines followed, as the Englishman no doubt called into question whether his days in the dugout had already come to an underwhelming close.
But Lampard was evidently not ready to go down without a fight, positioning himself in the running for the Everton job this past January, before ultimately being chosen as the man to replace the under-fire Rafael Benitez.
A shaky stint thus far has seen the 106-time capped international fail to guide the club away from the relegation zone, hovering just a point clear of the drop as things stand. Recent performances, though, at the very least would appear to suggest that Lampard has managed to get the Toffees’ stars playing for the shirt, more than can be said for many of those to have come before him. It remains too soon to make a definitive call on his spell on Merseyside, but maintaining the club’s Premier League status is an absolute necessity if Lampard has genuine intentions of carving out a prolonged career for himself in management.
Tactical abilities: C
Man management: B-
Overall grade: C+
After the pair were compared based on their efforts on the pitch throughout their respective careers, such comparisons, inevitably, have since continued between the aforementioned Lampard and Steven Gerrard when it comes to managerial endeavours, too.
And, at present, it is the latter who unquestionably comes out on top.
On the back of an impressive stint overseeing ongoings in Liverpool’s academy, which saw him draw praise from first-team boss Jurgen Klopp, Gerrard was of course snapped up by Scottish giants Rangers in the summer of 2018.
And, after a pair of seasons spent closing the gap on bitter rivals Celtic in the upper echelons of the Scottish Premiership table, the Englishman, in 2020/21, provided a glimpse into just how special a tactician he could yet go on to become.
On the back of a long and painful decade without a league title, Gerrard oversaw a historic Gers campaign, which ultimately culminated in the Glaswegian heavyweights not only regaining the crown of Scotland’s best, but also going unbeaten across the entirety of the league season, to finish an eye-watering 25 points clear of closest challengers Celtic.
Steven Gerrard sliding across a beer soaked Rangers dressing room. You love to see it
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) March 8, 2021
The Light Blues too impressed under the bright lights on the continent, topping their Europa League group by means of a pair of impressive draws with Portuguese powerhouse Benfica, before ultimately being ousted from the competition in the Round-of-16.
Gerrard has since moved on, though, opting to try his hand back in the Premier League for the very first time.
And his Aston Villa side, too, have showcased flashes of what they could yet develop into under the watch of the Liverpool icon, romping to wins over the likes of Southampton and Leeds United. Gerrard’s abilities on a man-to-man level have also been evident across his Villans stint to date, with the return to form of Philippe Coutinho in no small part owing to the confidence instilled in the Brazilian by his new boss.
Alarming dips in form have too been forthcoming across Gerrard’s Premier League return to date, but the 41-year-old will no doubt be confident of ironing out such woes with a full summer of preparation and business on the transfer front under his belt.
Those of a Claret and Blue persuasion would do well to remember that it took Gerrard a full two years to implement his vision to its fullest at Rangers, but the results, when they did arrive, were an absolute sight to behold.
There’s a good reason that Jurgen Klopp has previously labelled it a case of ‘when’, rather than ‘if’ Gerrard will ultimately be named as manager of his beloved Liverpool…
Tactical abilities: B
Man management: B+
Overall grade: B
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