If English players are overrated and benefit from millions being tacked onto their price tags, then the exact opposite can be said of Eddie Howe. He’s due a big job very soon. It’s just difficult to decipher which gig best suits in the modern world of football management.
While there’s no doubt that Howe benefits from a rare situation at Bournemouth in so much as they trust him to manage every aspect of the football club, he has proven time and time again that he can coach players to become better.
And that’s something very few managers are capable of.
If you take Jose Mourinho for example – he brings in pieces that suit his style of play because he doesn’t plan on expanding their capabilities or upskilling them – and with football management slowly losing the responsibility of recruitment, the game might be passing him by.
Howe is a different breed of manager. He believes in coaching and self-motivation from the players as they learn to adapt to situations and a style of play that improves players on the ball as well as off it.
Winning may always be paramount regardless of the scenario, but no young player wants to forego time developing their technique on the ball, no matter how much silverware you can offer them.
And while it may be to his side’s detriment in future, Howe sticks by this philosophy, making him a prime candidate to replace Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford.
If you consider the free-flowing football that some of the players in that squad – Pogba, Lukaku, Martial, Rashford, Mata, Alexis Sanchez – are capable of, it’s inconceivable that United fans wouldn’t be happier going to Old Trafford to watch a Howe side.
Or should Pochettino depart Tottenham, White Heart Lane (whenever the builders move out) is the ideal gig for the Cherries boss before an inevitable elevation to the England setup rears its head. There isn’t a manager or coach in the UK with a better understanding of the youth systems in England, combined with a proven track record of managing at the highest level.
Maybe he’d be crushed under the weight of expectation, but he’s entitled to a better gig, one of bigger stature. There’s a risk it could ruin him, but it’s worth taking.
The one thing he’s established is that coaching is his forte and he can do it at a high level. The sum of the individual parts on the south coast simply doesn’t stand up to the majority of teams around them – yet the brand of football and confidence he instils in his players elevates them.
That’s what so many big clubs are missing. He’s in danger of becoming a perennial overachiever and while that may cement his legacy at one particular club, it limits his career. He deserves the same level of opportunity that he provides to his players.
What hiring Howe would do is make a statement: a belief that clubs can accept an adventurous English manager who doesn’t revert to age-old Allardyce ball and can genuinely get the best out of England squads, that, on paper, are as good as any other international side.
A combination of Gareth Southgate and Eddie Howe is England’s future – provided Howe isn’t unfairly punished for being overly-ambitious with his philosophies at clubs whose top brass pull triggers at the first sight of a Youtube fan channel gone awry.