Managers who would be perfect for their teams

Manchester United

With the transfer window slammed shut for the Premier League clubs, a number of coaches have complained about their inability to add to their squads.

Many were excellent players during their younger days and probably still believe they could do a job for their sides when they are kicking every ball on sidelines.

Clyde manager Danny Lennon brought himself on in his team’s 3-1 Glasgow Cup win over Celtic Colts, the 50-year-old adding afterwards, perhaps with tongue in cheek, that he still had the “physicality and the health to grace the pitch”.

So hypothetically speaking, and just for a bit of fun, we look at which of the current crop of English top flight managers would have been the perfect fit for their clubs.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

We have already heard plenty of talk about the dawn of a new era at Manchester United this season but it could be argued that their squad is still a striker light.

Youngster Mason Greenwood has been backed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to step up but in an ideal world, someone like the Norwegian would be perfect for the Red Devils.

Solskjaer’s heyday was in the era of sides playing two up front and he was part of a brilliant 1999 Treble winning quartet alongside Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke and Teddy Sheringham.

All provided something different and the 46-year-old carved out his niche as the man to come off the bench to score the late winner.

The most famous of these was his decisive goal in the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich and his knack for snatching goals from nowhere would be invaluable to a squad lacking a real 20-goal a season man.

Pep Guardiola

Manchester City have a sparkling squad and are hardly lacking options in the middle of the park. However, at his peak, Pep Guardiola would have walked into any side.

A wonderfully elegant deep-lying playmaker, Guardiola was the conductor of the orchestra in Johan Cruyff’s heralded Barcelona side, often nicknamed, the ‘Dream Team’.

Both an inspiration and mentor for World Cup winners Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas, Guardiola has extended that influence to current City midfielders Ilkay Gundogan and Rodri.

While known for his impassioned displays on the touchline, Pep was the often the opposite on the pitch, cruising around the field and his polished play would have fit right in at the Etihad.

Frank Lampard

This one is obvious. Frank Lampard – Chelsea’s record goal-scorer – would be perfect for his fledgling young side.

With three Premier Leagues, four FA Cups, a Champions League and a Europa League on his CV, ‘Super-Frank’ would be fantastic to have on the field, guiding the Blues through their current travails.

Imagine Lampard at his peak, combining with N’Golo Kante, providing the forward thrust to the Frenchman’s defensive ballast.

He has clearly taken a shine to youngster Mason Mount, coaching him on loan at Derby and putting him straight into the first team at Chelsea. As a goal-scoring midfielder, Mount is perhaps seen as a candidate to follow in the coach’s footsteps at both club and England level.

However, will he ever be as good as his mentor? Probably not.

Steve Bruce

While the above trio are known perhaps more for their efforts going forward, Newcastle’s Steve Bruce was an old-school defender with the broken nose to prove it.

Bruce was influential in Manchester United’s first three Premier League title successes, spending nine years at Old Trafford, in a spell that also included winning three FA Cups and the European Cup Winners’ Cup.

Introducing the 58-year-old’s steel in defence would be timely for the Magpies having seen them lose their opening two Premier League games, most glaringly 3-1 at Norwich where Bruce spent three years as a player.

It is often forgotten that the Corbridge-born coach was also very handy on the ball. This allowed him to weigh in with his fair share of goals, famously netting a brace against Sheffield Wednesday to help United top the table in 1992-93.

Honourable mentions

Of course, these are not the only Premier League coaches to have had handy playing careers.

Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino played at the 2002 World Cup for Argentina. Who could forget the anguish on his face when Michael Owen dived over his leg to win a penalty in England’s 1-0 Group F win in Sapporo?

Jan Vertonghen and Toby Aldweireld are potentially better players but Poch would be a decent member of the squad.

Some who like a long-ball game may also fancy Jurgen Klopp to do a job for Liverpool, having used his six-foot-four frame as both a striker and a defender.

Alternatively, try telling Sean Dyche he couldn’t make it with his Burnley side. The honesty and determination demonstrated weekly by the Clarets are precisely the qualities that inspired his career, albeit in the main, further down the pyramid.

They are by no means the only ones. Who comes to mind for you?

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