Middlesbrough is a football club from the outside many young British coaches would consider a great starting point in the Football League.
The Teesiders have not so distant Premier League experience, great infrastructure and a chairman who unlike most is patient and willing to stick by his man, yet the club have for the first time in their history appointed a foreign coach.
Aitor Karanka, Jose Mourinho’s former assistant at Real Madrid, could turn out to be a fantastic appointment for Middlesbrough, but this appointment in the greater scheme of things highlights the dreary outlook for young British coaches.
Many of the managers in the Premier League, for a long time have not been from these shores, with only nine out of the current 19 full-time managers (as Crystal Palace are yet to appoint a successor to Ian Holloway) born from within the British Isles.
The picture that is painted is one of little opportunity, and even within that opportunity only a select few can make it in the promised land of the Premier League.
Nigel Adkins has proven himself to be an astute manager in the Football League and after guiding Southampton to back-to-back promotions was discarded last February even though the side looked on course for survival.
The case with Adkins is one that the British manager seems capable of only so much, and is perhaps the reason why the top jobs seem to go to the foreign coaches and with the example of Southampton Nicola Cortese’s decision certainly seems vindicated now with Mauricio Pochettino having the Saints currently sitting third in the table.
Even for the British managers within the Premier League there seems to be a glass ceiling that only the chosen few can break through.
Alan Pardew, Steve Clarke, Paul Lambert and Chris Hughton have all done well in their current posts but if any of the top jobs were to become available it would be surprising to see any of their names amongst the frontrunners.
Much has been made recently of the amount of foreign players in the English game stunting the growth of our homegrown players, but does the same not apply for the coaches too?
There is talk of quota systems being brought in to ensure players get a certain amount of game time, but would this not in fact bring down the standard of quality the Premier League has worked so hard to achieve.
It is a worry that no English manager has won the Premier League in any of its 21 years, and that doesn’t look like changing any time soon, but the foreign influences need to be matched not kicked out.
Foreign players and coaches have given English football some of its greatest moments, and helped transform our game but now is it time for the FA to focus on producing our very own Wengers and Mourinhos.
St. George’s Park has been a much talked about project by the FA and now it is time to produce the number and level of coaches we need to see successful British coaches and players alongside the foreign imports.
A job like the Middlesbrough post that has just been taken by Karanka would be an ideal grounding for any young manager, as Karanka may find, much like the Brighton post Oscar Garcia took earlier in the summer and it is disappointing that these men aren’t rivaled by any British counterparts.
Spain and Germany in recent years have refined their philosophies and it is much talked about that England need to follow suit, something it is hoped St. George’s Park will change.
By training more coaches, and have a larger number of coaches our grassroots footballers should get better and the coaching standard should rise, which whilst boosting the amount of young players would also boost the amount of coaches too.
The Football League, for managers, like players has proven a great grounding, as well as working as an understudy to a man like Mourinho, who himself worked under the great Sir Bobby Robson, but if all these opportunities are to dry up then it will be difficult to see British managers progressing.
Working as an assistant seems to be the route many are taking before going into management and Steve Bould at Arsenal and Paul Clement, Carlo Ancelotti’s assistant at Real Madrid nowadays could be two men who step into management one day, but surely the Football League cannot be ignored but letting foreign coaches take the best jobs in both Premier and Football League.
Both David Moyes and Brendan Rodgers plied their trade in the Football League before they made their jump into the Premier League and are now regarded as the best British managers in the business.
However, now it is becoming an important time for the FA and St. George’s Park.
As well as developing a philosophy, which may be aided by the foreign influences for example Paul Lambert began his coaching badges whilst under Omar Hitzfeld at Borussia Dortmund as well as Steve Clarke and Brendan Rodgers having worked under the ‘Special One’ before going alone is that other archaic ideas need to be forgotten.
Many believe within football that great players make great coaches.
Neither Arsene Wenger nor Jose Mourinho were terrifically talented players but have been two of the greatest managers the English game has seen. Whereas neither Tony Adams or Alan Shearer two of this country’s great players have been able to cut the grade as far as management is considered.
Time is also a rare commodity in football management, but if our coaches were more talented perhaps they would hold their posts for longer and carry out the “projects” that are often spoken about in football.
The time is now, and the FA needs to carry out their own project and ensure we can produce a coach capable of one day winning the Premier League.