we should decide by referendum

Which of These Utterly Underwhelming Candidates Will Be the Next England Boss?

After Roy Hodgson's inevitable resignation last night, England are looking for a new manager. Unfortunately there is a major dearth of candidates for the role.
28 June 2016, 11:41am

English football – best in the world, lads. I mean, have you seen who's coaching in the Premier League next season? There's Guardiola, Mourinho, Klopp, Wenger, Pochettino and Conte. Incredible. And in terms of home-grown bosses there's... well, there's always Sam Allardyce. Tony Pulis? No, he's Welsh. Ah, Pardew and Howe. We're struggling for names now. Still, going to be a cracking season, right?

Yes, it absolutely is – unless your job is to pick the next England boss. Following Roy Hodgson's resignation last night, plenty of names are being knocked around with less direction than a Harry Kane free-kick. These are the favourites (according to one major bookmaker) and they don't exactly fill you with confidence.

Gareth Southgate – 11/8

Yes, he is actually the favourite. Southgate's most famous moment in an England shirt will always be the tamely struck penalty that ended his country's Euro '96 hopes. Ah, but will it? Could elevation to the top job provide an opportunity to break English hearts in a whole new way? Lacklustre at club level – he took Middlesbrough down in 2009 and was sacked a few months later – he's been England under-21 boss since 2013. Led the side at last year's under-21 Euros, where England finished bottom of their group. Strongest argument seems to be that he's already been allocated a parking space at FA headquarters.

Harry Redknapp – 5/1

Didn't get the job in 2012 but has been lobbying for it ever since. Redknapp's greatest strength is his immense popularity on Fleet Street and an insatiable desire to speak from the seat of a stationary vehicle. Has vast experience of England's south-east, and a two-game spell as international boss with Jordan. Dodgy knees and the fact he's almost 70 may count against him. There is likely an alternate reality in which he's leading England to Euro 2016 glory, but then there are probably infinite alternate realities so that's nothing to hang your hat on.

Eddie Howe – 8/1

Has one season (1) of Premier League experience and is younger than some players competing at Euro 2016. Make no mistake, Howe is a highly promising manager and could well be England boss in time. However, it seems unlikely that the FA will plump for a 38-year-old who hasn't even managed a club side in Europe. Why destroy him now when he could enjoy the next 10 years, and screw it all up by taking the England job then?

Howe might make a fine England manager one day, but it's surely too early for the 38-year-old // Peter Powell/EPA

Alan Shearer – 8/1

Managerial experience consists of failing to get Newcastle out of the relegation zone in 2009 (1 win, 2 draws, 5 defeats). Once a great footballer, now a distinctly average pundit. Incredibly, he is ranked as the fourth favourite for the job and at the same odds as actual-professional-football-manger Eddie Howe.

Glenn Hoddle – 8/1

Former England boss, sacked in 1999 for suggesting that disabled people were being punished for sins committed in a past life. Hasn't managed anyone in a decade. Seriously.

Gary Neville – 10/1

Presumably just a name on a list as opposed to a serious candidate.

Neville is tainted by his association with recent failures, and a terrible stint at Valencia // Mast Irham/EPA

Alan Pardew – 11/1

Back to the serious stuff: it's middle-aged banter merchant Alan Pardew. Pards has had high moments at club level, but it's impossible to deny that Crystal Palace badly under-performed last season and he seemed powerless to turn things around. Could also attract a lot of press attention, and not necessarily the good kind. Plus his dancing. Think of his terrible, terrible dancing.

Sam Allardyce – 12/1

It's not October and England are not facing relegation from the Premier League, making Big Sam an unlikely appointment.

Guus Hiddink – 16/1

Best-priced foreign manager, and probably the best candidate on this list. Unlike anyone else mentioned Hiddink has international management experience – loads of it, in fact, having led five different national teams. He took his native Netherlands to fourth in the 1998 World Cup; achieved the same with South Korea four years later; and had a decent showing with Australia in 2006. Hiddink also managed Russia to the semi-finals of Euro 2008. It's not all good – he couldn't get Turkey to Euro 2012 and recently oversaw a horrible mess in his second spell as Dutch boss – but he is still a strong contender if he wants the job. Turns 70 in November, which is arguably a hinderance.

Hiddink has recent experience of taking over at a massively under-performing team // Andy Rain/EPA

Brendan Rodgers – 20/1

Has recently taken the Celtic job so it seems unlikely Brendan will be England boss anytime soon. Not an awful candidate, and actually seems quite suited to the FA, but would underwhelm a large portion of the fans. Fortunately, England fans are used to being underwhelmed.

Jurgen Klinsmann – 22/1

Unpopular among U.S. fans for his inability to take their team forward, having come in promising to fundamentally change how the national side worked and played. Given that Americans would happily wave Jurgen off to England, he's probably not a great choice.


Laurent Blanc (22/1) has big-club and international experience and is available, but this would be a bit like appointing Stuart Pearce as France boss. Rafa Benitez (28/1) might regret taking the Newcastle job and could be a candidate, albeit an outsider. Louis van Gaal (40/1) is available and, honestly, that would be a laugh. Sven is 100/1. Let's just be done with it and bring him back.

Let's do the timewarp again // Adrian Dennis/EPA