By 90Min
November 02, 2017

"What does he know about the Premier League?"

"He's not got a clue!" 

"Why is this geezer any different to Gary Rowett?"

"Why does it always have to be a foreign manager?"

These statements are just a handful of narrow minded blurts uttered from the blinkered mouths of Paul Merson and Phil Thompson following Hull's appointment of the then relatively unknown Marco Silva back in January; blurts that reek of a sense of false entitlement and, quite frankly, the discrediting of foreign coaches' ability all over the world. 

Humorously, the former Olympiakos boss - who won 17 games in a row with the Greek side, prompting Merson to declare that 'he could win the league with Olympiakos' -  has since dispelled the pair's almost xenophobic claims and worked wonders in England, almost saving Hull against all odds, thus earning the Watford job, where he has guided the Hornets to eighth place after ten games. 

It is almost worrying that these fairly high profile pundits are so passionately expressing these pro-British viewpoints. Are Merson and Thompson aware of the fact that an Englishman has never guided a team to the Premier League title? Perhaps it is this disillusioned sense of entitlement that has led to the national team delivering years and years of disappointment, and begs the question, do us Brits expect to be spoon-fed results in football simply because of our nationality?

On the flip side, when these foreign coaches are actually allowed a crack at the English game, the credentials that they have been polishing and nurturing over in our neighbouring countries shine through in their team's on field performances. The same disgruntlement that met Silva's arrival in England was also seen when Mauricio Pochettino set foot on the south coast, taking over from Nigel Adkins at Southampton. 

The appointment resulted in outcry, but since then, the Argentine took the Saints to another level as well as developing the abilities of Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert to unprecedented heights. 

Everyone is aware of Pochettino's pedigree now, and his Spurs side now dine comfortably at England's top table with the Premier League's elite, all of whom are also unsurprisingly managed by foreign bosses. Liverpool have Jürgen Klopp, Manchester City boast Pep Guardiola, Chelsea have Antonio Conte, and so on. 

Far from coincidentally, the arrival of Europe's top bosses in our county has seen some of our own's talents go from strength to strength. Since Pochettino has taken the reigns in north London, he has undoubtedly turned Harry Kane and Dele Alli into players with world class ability. In addition to the exploits of the aforementioned pair, Pochettino has gone to some lengths to develop and 'coach' the English core of his side when others may have turned to the transfer market for a foreign commodity.  


Under the Argentine's tutelage, Kyle Walker became one of the most rampant and efficient full backs in England, his form leading to a £50m move to Guardiola's City. His understudy, Kieran Trippier, has slotted seamlessly into the role vacated by Walker and is arguably now turning in better performances than his predecessor. Danny Rose has also become one of the best full backs in the league and Eric Dier has blossomed, whereas most recently the form of Harry Winks has led many to christen the midfielder as the 'English Iniesta'; it speaks volumes that this praise isn't even misguided. 

Meanwhile, at the Etihad, another 'clueless' foreign manager in the shape of Guardiola is turning his English crop of players into world beaters. The form of the previously mentioned Walker, as well as John Stones, Fabian Delph and most notably Raheem Sterling - who is recording some absolutely scintillating numbers - has led to the Citizens topping the table undefeated after ten games. 

Stones boasts a 96.5% pass success rate in the Premier League this season, and has also scored three goals in four Champions League outings so far. Walker has five assists already this season, impressing massively in a right wing back role for Guardiola, whilst Delph has added another string to his bow whilst playing at left back as deputy for the crocked Benjamin Mendy. 

The most glaringly obvious sign of the impact a foreign coach can have on a player is evident through the performances of Sterling, however. The former Liverpool man is emerging as one of the world's most efficient wingers, having scored seven times in five league starts this season as well as three times in two Champions League starts. It speaks volumes that in a side possessing the immense talents of Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Agüero and Leroy Sané, Sterling tops the scoring charts over all of his teammates in sky blue. 

Another notable mention would be the rise of Marcus Rashford, incidentally given his chance under the Dutchman Louis van Gaal whilst having his rough diamond qualities smoothed out by the Portuguese José Mourinho. 

Whilst all of the aforementioned may have become good players regardless, it has been a foreign touch that has allowed them to take their games to new levels, and as a result of Guardiola, Pochettino and Mourinho's work, the England national team now boasts a scarily potent outlook ahead of the World Cup in Russia next summer and have a chance of turning the nation's fictions into reality.  


So, next time a heavily accented name whose credentials are plagued by ambiguity rocks up on English shores, Merson and co should perhaps think twice before spurting out their outdated opinions; anyway, I'm sure Gary Rowett would've done just as good a job with England's crème de la crème given the chance...

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