Most of us would love to see Jose Mourinho back in the Premier League again, as well as an assortment of other dream gaffers such as Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, but here are five more realistic up-and-coming managers from the Football League who I’d love to see coaching in the Premier League.
1. Dougie Freedman
Dougie Freedman has very little managerial experience, but he has certainly learnt a lot since going into management. Freedman, once a Scotland international, was the assistant manager at Crystal Palace from 2010 and was eventually given the caretaker manager role after George Burley was sacked on New Years Day 2011. Many expected Freedman to take over as caretaker manager temporarily until the Palace board appointed a more experienced manager, but he was given the role on a full-time basis with a two and a half year contract. At the time of his appointment, Crystal Palace were in the relegation zone fighting against the drop towards League One. However, Freedman managed to guide the team to safety with just a game to spare. The successful start to management continued as Palace started the following season well, occupying a play-off place at the end of October and enjoying a good run in the Football League Cup, where they knocked out Manchester United at Old Trafford. Freedman’s side finished the season in 17th place but made another strong start to the season after.
However, it was announced that Freedman joined Bolton Wanderers in October 2012, despite his new side being 16th in the Championship (12 places below Crystal Palace). The move seemed to have paid off for the young manager though, as he remained unbeaten during his first full month in charge, something the club had not achieved for two years. Freedman had eventually led Bolton from 20th to 6th place in the Championship, a real achievement by any manager in the business. Despite the lack of experience, Freedman has taken like a duck to water in his first few seasons in management and deserves a chance in the Premier League with Bolton if he manages to gain promotion this season.
2. Nigel Pearson
Despite saving Carlisle from relegation on the final day of the 1998-99 season, Nigel Pearson’s managerial career never really took off until he took the reign at Southampton. Pearson had previous spells at West Brom, England Under-21s and Newcastle United as caretaker manager, but failed to make an impact. Pearson took charge at Southampton when the club were in real financial trouble, they were on the brink of relegation to League One, but on the final day of the season Pearson guided the side to a 3-2 win over Sheffield United despite being 1-0 down. Pearson had become a fan-favourite on the South Coast, but as he was only on a rolling contract Pearson moved on to Leicester City, who were also in League One at the time.