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10 managers we want to see back in work in 2022

Where will we see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer next?
Where will we see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer next?

Back in the summer we wrote a piece on 10 out-of-work managers that we desperately wanted to see return at some point this season (2021/22).

At the half-way stage of the campaign just three of those 10 bosses are back in the dugout: Antonio Conte (Spurs), Lluís Cortés (Ukraine women), and Chris Wilder (Middlesbrough).

Meanwhile the other seven - Zinedine Zidane, Ernesto Valverde, Lucien Favre, Paulo Fonseca, Diego Martínez, Rudi Garcia, and Quique Setién - are still having a breather, but we hope to see this selected band of bosses make their respective comebacks in due course.

In order to avoid repetition we will not be including the aforementioned seven remaining unemployed managers in our updated piece where we list 10 managers we want to see return to the touchline in 2022; featuring a combination of experienced managers with varying degrees of success, and young bosses bidding to establish themselves in what can be an incredibly volatile and cut-throat profession.

Daily Football Tips

Frank Lampard

Doesn’t time fly by. It’s already approaching a year since Frank Lampard was sacked by Chelsea, yet we are still eagerly awaiting his next step in management.

Linked with a myriad of jobs since January 2021, it was the Norwich vacancy in October which Lampard appeared closest to getting. For whatever reason he pulled out of the running, with the Canaries then opting for Dean Smith.

“I’m ready to work,” Lampard recently told Gary Neville on The Overlap.

“I’m excited about it and I miss it. There’s been a few opportunities since I left Chelsea - I’ve spoken to a couple of clubs. Some didn't feel right for me but I don’t want to sound overly selective.

“I’m fortunate enough to be in a place where I want to work but I’m not desperate to work. I want to get the right place and somewhere that feels positive.”

An intelligent and emotional manager, Lampard will undoubtedly have a hunger to bounce back and prove his critics wrong. The 43-year-old’s high-profile married with his dedication to improving young players and determination to make his mark in management, means he won't be short of offers. 

The real intrigue is speculating where he will return. The Premier League? The Championship? A venture into Europe? Or perhaps a move to the MLS?

At the time of writing Lampard features at 6/1 to replace Rafa Benitez at Everton, should the under-pressure Spaniard depart Goodison Park.

Jesse Marsch

Filling the managerial shoes of one of the hottest young prospects in the game, Julian Nagelsmann, is a tough task. 

An exciting, motivational and passionate manager with a penchant for pressing, Jesse Marsch is a former assistant to Ralf Rangnick (at RB Leipzig) and prior to his return to the club last summer he'd thrived in Austria at sister side Red Bull Salzburg where he’d won back-to-back league and cup doubles, and developed a host of young starlets including Erling Haaland, Takumi Minamino, Patson Daka, and Dominik Szoboszlai.

The American had also tasted success in his homeland with another Red Bull club, New York Red Bulls, where he won the Supporters' Shield; an honour which saw him named Coach of the Year.

As is sometimes the case in football, it simply didn’t work out in his most high-profile job to date at RB Leipzig where Marsch’s high-press and vertical approach was at odds with the more technical and possession-based squad at his disposal.

Marsch will be gutted that his stint lasted just 21 games, but we expect the talented coach to bounce back soon.

Michael Flynn

Regular readers of The Sack Race will have become accustomed to seeing Michael Flynn frequently pop up in next manager markets since he departed Newport back in October.

Appointed as caretaker with no senior managerial experience in March 2017, Flynn conjured up a great escape to preserve the Exiles’ Football League status, then proceeded to lead his troops to two League Two play-off finals, and oversaw magical domestic cup upsets over the likes of Leicester and Leeds.

Flynn was unable to achieve promotion to the third-tier, yet his reputation has soared over the last few years and he’ll be a cracking asset to an EFL club. We imagine he’ll be targeting a move up the pyramid to League One but an ambitious League Two side with promotion aspirations could well catch his eye.

Could we see soon Michael Flynn make the step up into League One?
Could we see soon Michael Flynn make the step up into League One?

Jorge Jesus

Jorge Jesus is one of the most successful Portuguese managers of the 21st century.

From his success at Benfica whom he led to three league titles, seven domestic cups, and two journeys through to the Europa League final, to lifting the Copa Libertadores, the national championship and three other trophies during a spectacular year with Brazilian side Flamengo.

The 67-year-old certainly isn’t afraid to go outside his comfort zone having previously done the unthinkable when he switched Benfica for fierce rivals Sporting Lisbon, while English football fans may remember his touchline tussle with then Spurs boss Tim Sherwood.

He’s a proven winner who in his last five jobs has accumulated some pretty impressive win rates: Benfica (70%), Sporting (62.6%), Al Hilal (80%), Flamengo (75.4%), and then Benfica again 62.65%, albeit his second-spell didn’t go particularly well and he’s now out-of-work after having his contract terminated just after Christmas.

It would be great to see him in England one day, fingers crossed.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was unable to deliver silverware as manager of Man Utd, leaving the club in November after a thoroughly underwhelming start to a season in which the Red Devils were expected to mount a serious title challenge following the high-profile arrivals of Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, and Raphaël Varane.

While there remains question marks over Solskjaer’s tactical acumen, game management, and lack of a concrete identity and structure, he can draw many positives from his Red Devils tenure; from changing the culture following the toxic end to Jose Mourinho’s spell, to promoting youth and recording a record-breaking 29-game unbeaten away run. The way he handled himself in the face of widespread criticism was also admirable.

Supporters desperately wanted the amiable club legend to succeed, but while it was not to be, he will certainly attract attention from elsewhere given his profile and the fact he’s managed Man Utd. It’s going to be very interesting to see who he manages next.

Andrea Pirlo

It’s fair to say that Andrea Pirlo’s one-and-only season in charge of Juventus didn’t exactly go to plan: the club finished 4th having previously won the last nine titles and fell in the last-16 of the Champions League to Porto.

On the plus side he did at least claim silverware in the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana, yet he left under a cloud of disappointment following the club’s failure in major competitions.

It would, however, be grossly unfair to simply write Pirlo off as a manager. After all, Sir Alex Ferguson was once sacked by St Mirren.

While we are by no means saying the Italian will go on to become a managerial GOAT, he will undoubtedly have learnt a lot about himself following a year in the Juventus hot-seat. It’s worth noting that it’s not exactly been plain sailing for his replacement, Max Allegri, either.

“This adventure, despite an unexpected ending, made it even clearer what I would like my future to be, which I hope will be just as complete and fulfilling as the one I experienced as a player,” Pirlo said following his departure.

Pirlo didn’t achieve what he did as a player by simply giving up at the first hurdle. The virtuous midfielder dedicated himself to his craft, honed his skills, and ultimately became one of the most admired players of his generation. He has a unique footballing brain, while he also speaks English and French, so perhaps a voyage to these shores could be on the horizon?

Don’t rule him out as a manager just yet.

Where next for Andrea Pirlo?
Where next for Andrea Pirlo?

Paul Cook

Like many managers in this article, Paul Cook’s last stint in management was a disappointment.

Following his appointment in March, Cook looked the ideal fit to propel Ipswich out of League One and back into the Championship. After all, he had three EFL titles on his CV with three different clubs, including Wigan who he previously led to League One glory.

Cook was unable to secure a play-off finish last term, but oversaw a summer re-build during which he brought in 19 new faces following the club’s takeover. Despite boasting a revamped and hugely talented squad, The Tractor Boys simply never got motoring under Cook this season and he was sacked in December - the first time he’d suffered the chop since his very first job at Southport in 2007.

Given his prior experience and success in management, Cook will feel aggrieved that he wasn’t given more time, but that is the life of a manager.

Make no mistake about it, Cook will still be in demand once a new vacancy arises in the New Year.

Thierry Henry

Slightly cheating with this one as Thierry Henry is actually in work, not as an outright manager but an assistant to Roberto Martinez at Belgium.

Not all great players make great managers. There’s no concrete formula to ensure that because you set the football arena alight with your feet that you’ll automatically become a managerial maestro.

After a mixed start from two spells in France and Canada, we hope to see Henry give management a third crack.

His 20-game failure at Monaco was a powerful eye-opener into how difficult the industry can be. Then at Montreal Impact he lasted slightly longer (29 games) taking the club through to their first play-offs in four seasons and the Champions League quarter-finals before leaving by his own accord in order to be closer to his family, who are based in England.

There’s no doubt that Henry has a lot to offer, the question is whether he can make the transition into management, show he can be versatile and adapt to different situations, and in turn make his vision a reality.

Neil Warnock

He may be 73 but we refuse to believe that the Middlesbrough job was Neil Warnock’s last in management. This is a manager who first threatened to retire all the way back in 2006!

As passionate as they come, Warnock has overseen 16 clubs since he first entered into management with Gainsborough Trinity in 1980 - before many current EFL managers were even born.

Warnock’s orchestrated a staggering eight promotions, has overseen a record 1,603 matches in English football, and boasts a plethora of astonishing memes, gifs, and memorable moments.

We are strongly of the opinion that the veteran gaffer still has a part to play in the EFL, whether that’s before the end of the campaign or next season we’ll have to wait and see. 

The Icon: Neil Warnock
The Icon: Neil Warnock

Gennaro Gattuso

Rewind to the bizarre scenes in the summer which saw Gennaro Gattuso appointed Fiorentina manager 48 hours after leaving Napoli, only to then leave his new employers after all of 23 days. The Italian was then instantly on the cusp of becoming the new Tottenham boss, however Daniel Levy got cold feet over the huge fan backlash.

It was a hectic few weeks for Gattuso, who has yet to return to the dugout. He most certainly has a bombastic side to him, but on the whole he's done an admirable job in management so far.

Excluding Fiorentina - where he didn’t manage a game - the 43-year-old has overseen six different clubs since entering into management in 2013. He took Pisa into Serie B, his first major job was at old club AC Milan where he finished 6th and 5th, then he led Napoli to Coppa Italia glory in 2020. 

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