A stellar showing with the Netherlands in 2014 landed Louis van Gaal the Manchester United job and while managerial searches are about as frequent as bounced cheques from Villa Park at the moment, a World Cup is always a good indicator of who could be the next in-demand gaffer in the Premier League.
Here’s five contenders, that – with impressive performances in Russia – could be set to take over your club in the coming months when they likely sack their manager three weeks into the Premier League season.
Didier Deschamps – France
It’s somewhat surprising that more clubs don’t approach Deschamps for their managerial vacancies.
Well, it is and it isn’t. Managing a national side is about as comfortable as it can get for any manager. If a player is out of form – not their fault. If a team doesn’t gel, they can say they hadn’t enough preparation time. But Deschamps did have a falling out with the Juventus board. A hot-headed Frenchman arguing with a board of hot-headed Italians – who’d have thought it?
He guided Monaco to a Champions League final, yet his career trajectory wasn’t quite the same as the man who defeated him in that game. Deschamps won a Ligue 1 title with Marseille as well as three league cups. He also guided France to a European Championships final.
There aren’t too many with better CVs – surely worth having a go?
Roberto Martinez – Belgium
I always remember a conversation I had with a friend a few years back. He told me that Roberto Martinez managing Barcelona was the greatest football certainty of all time. Now, if he’s to be correct, dear Roberto is really taking the road less travelled.
While becoming adored among Wigan and Swansea fans is like a dog loving when they’re hungry, he’s still got a proven track record in the Premier League, which should at least remove the bedding in period in which he has to scout opposition, get players up to speed in the league and generally find his feet in a new competition.
His 42.7% win record at Everton isn’t appalling and he did guide them to a fifth-place finish in 2014. Some will look back on his time at Goodison Park as a complete failure but only as he was too over-the-top with his promises of European football.
Heimir Hallgrímsson – Iceland
There would be little substance to this as (copy and paste) Hallgrimsson’s CV is very similar to Michael O’Neill’s and nobody’s even considering the Northern Irishman for a job in the top tier of English football.
But (copy and paste) Hallgrimsson has overseen the evolution of Icelandic football and made them a genuinely compact unit that don’t give up results to teams regardless of their stature. When an identity and a training regime becomes so successful, you must look at those implementing it.
The 51-year-old may just have a sneak at running into a job where a relegation scrap is firmly on the agenda. You can do a lot worse – like bringing in Pardew again. AGAIN.
Julen Lopetegui – Spain
We’ve seen this all before. In fact, you don’t even really need to look at his CV to assess whether or not a Premier League club would pull the trigger on bringing him in because he’s the Spanish manager, which somehow translates into a surefire success story with brilliant football in the backarse of England during morbid midweek games.
In all seriousness, Lopetegui is a superb coach and just on the wrong side of 50. There’s a really nice progression to his career as well, proving himself at each age group to the Spanish FA before eventually being promoted to the main job back in 2016.
He’ll undoubtedly bring style, but will he bring results?
Gareth Southgate – England