Who Is John Herdman? Canada manager joins fellow Englishman Gareth Southgate at 2022 World Cup
Gareth Southgate won’t be the only English manager present at this year’s World Cup after his fellow countryman John Herdman incredibly propelled Canada to their first finals in 36 years.
It’s a remarkable achievement for Herdman whose Canada side have battled through a hectic schedule to secure a first World Cup spot since 1986, which is the country’s only appearance in the competition.
“Oh my god, unbelievable," beamed Herdman after Canada thrashed Jamaica 4-0. He was then drenched in champagne.
"You can play in a Champions League final, Canadians can play for Bayern Munich, now they’re going to World Cups. Canada is a football nation man, we better believe it and we’re going to keep coming. We’ve only just got started!”
Herdman, 46, has proved to be a motivational and inspirational leader with buckets of belief who has completely changed the culture of Canadian football, embedding a new winning mentality which has transformed the fortunes of both the men's and women's teams.
The spotlight deservedly shines on his achievements right now and will continue to do so later this year in Qatar; a tournament that won't feature Roberto Mancini's European Champions Italy. Football, it's a funny old game.
Herdman, who will become the 15th different Englishman to manage at a men's World Cup, has had a varied background in football which we take a closer look at below…
Left England in pursuit of opportunities
Herdman, from County Durham, played football up to Northern League level. He would go on to launch a Brazilian soccer skills school, lectured sports science at Northumbria University, and worked as a development coach in Sunderland's academy - he's a passionate supporter of Newcastle.
Opportunities were slim for someone who had never played at the highest level, meaning Herdman jetted over to New Zealand in pursuit of work.
He played amateur football, worked in the analytics department at Aussie Rules club Sydney Swans, and joined the country’s national association football programme. He then became head coach for the New Zealand women's team - and youth sides - and managed in both the 2007 and 2011 World Cups, plus the 2008 Olympics.
Multiple Olympic Medalist
Prior to taking charge of the Canadian men’s team in 2018, Herdman spent six years at the helm of the country’s women’s team. He injected a huge dose of impetus, leading his side to back-to-back bronze medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic games, paving the way for another English manager - Bev Priestman - to strike gold in Japan last summer.
Furthermore, Herdman won gold in the 2011 Pan American Games in Mexico, reached the quarter-finals of the 2015 Women’s World Cup - losing 2-1 to England - and rose Canada to No.5 in the rankings.
Canada's World Cup Odds
Since taking charge of the men’s team Herdman’s impact has been immense. He’s won 29 and lost just seven of his 40 matches, reached the semi-finals of last summer's Gold Cup, and now led the country to their first men's World Cup since 1986.
As a result, Canada are now 33rd in the FIFA World Rankings - an all-time high - which could well rise again this week.
Herdman won’t have to wait long until Canada discover their World Cup opponents, with the draw taking place on Friday (April 1) at 4pm BST at the Doha Exhibition & Convention Centre in Qatar.
In the meantime, for those wondering, Canada can be found at 500/1 in the World Cup winner odds market…with Brazil, France, and England the early favourites for glory.
English managers at World Cup finals
After leading Canada to Qatar, Herdman will join a select group of Englishman to manage in a World Cup.
Walter Winterbottom, Alf Ramsey, Ron Greenwood, Bobby Robson, Glenn Hoddle, Roy Hodgson, and Gareth Southgate have all managed England at the World Cup.
However, Herdman will follow in the footsteps of those Englishman who have managed other nations in the finals.
We’re talking Sid Kimpton (France, 1934), Bob Glendenning (Netherlands, 1934 & 1938), and Jack Butler (Belgium, 1938). George Raynor (Sweden, 1950 & 1958) became the first Englishman to manage in a World Cup final (losing 5-2 to Brazil in 1958). Then there’s John Adshead (New Zealand, 1982), Tony Waiters (Canada, 1986), and Jack Charlton (Republic of Ireland, 1990 & 1994).
The aforementioned Hodgson is the only one of his countrymen to manage England and another country at the World Cup, having overseen Switzerland in 1994 - a competition England didn’t even manage to qualify for.