Who Are World Football's Next Generation of Great Coaches?

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistAugust 9, 2013

Who Are World Football's Next Generation of Great Coaches?

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    The likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Vicente Del Bosque, Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho are era-defining managers. As serial major trophy winners, their work is as revered and valued as any of world football's top players.

    Who will follow in their footsteps? A plethora of young coaches currently strut their stuff across the globe. From Premier League big hitters to Eredivisie victors, who are the sport's next generation of top managers?

    Let's take a look.

Special Mentions

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    As a rule for this particular list, only one piece of criteria stands: The manager must be 45 years old or younger.

    This means a special mention needs to be given to the likes of Jurgen Klopp and Michael Laudrup, who are currently 46 and 49, respectively. Of course, this duo are likely to engrave their names into the football history books many times over, but the ruling of this article ignores a closer look.

Ages: 35-40

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    Andre Villas-Boas, 35

    Kicking off our look through the next-generation of great coaches, Tottenham Hotspur's Andre Villas-Boas is youngest manager to be included on the list. At 35 years old, he is two months younger than former Spurs player Louis Saha, who recently announced his retirement.

    Villas-Boas has already distinguished himself as a diligent tactician who is willing to adapt. He has taken control of three of the world's biggest clubs in Porto, Chelsea and Spurs, experiencing success everywhere other than Stamford Bridge.

    AVB's career highlight came during the 2010-11 season in which he captured a Portuguese treble with  league, cup and Super Cup wins. Most impressively, a Radamel Falcao goal saw Porto overcome Braga in the Europa League final, capturing a clean swoop for the young coach.

    The gruff-voiced manager has a tendency to let games unravel before making big decisions. He sits back, observes patterns of play and reacts accordingly, as shown in Spurs' late 3-1 win over Manchester City last season.

    Viktor Goncharenko, 36

    BATE Borisov's Viktor Goncharenko is the youngest manager to ever lead a team out in the Champions League, a record that is unlikely to be beaten. In September 2008, his Belarusian team faced Real Madrid, with Goncharenko entering the dugout at just 31 years old.

    Since taking over the club in 2007, the man born inside the Soviet Union has notched up five domestic league titles, one cup and two Super Cups. He continues to gain experience in European competition and is, perhaps, the most unknown individual on this list. If BATE continue to improve, you can bet that will soon change.

    Sami Hyypia, 39

    Originally installed as Bayer Leverkusen coach alongside Sascha Lewandowski, Sami Hyypia is preparing for his first season as the German club's sole leader. The former Leverkusen defender—who spent much of his career in the Premier League with Liverpool—is the perfect type of individual to manage the improving Bundesliga side.

    The 39-year-old has already shown he is extremely keen to learn and better himself as a coach. Lewandowski was certainly more qualified when the original deal came together, but it's the hungry Fin who shall take the reins. His experience as a player, such as winning the UEFA Cup and Champions League, will quickly ensure Leverkusen are instilled with a winning mentality.

    Last season's third-place Bundesliga position, one point behind Borussia Dortmund, ensures an exciting task for Hyypia. Can he continue to put pressure on the top two, or will Leverkusen fall?

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, 40

    Although he still looks 12 years old, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has entered management in a mature, modest and successful way.

    After gaining experience working with Manchester United's strikers after his retirement, he took over the Old Trafford club's reserve side in 2008, winning the Lancashire Senior Cup in the process. The "Baby-faced Assassin" headed back to Norway in 2010 and opted to return to former club Molde.

    Away from the limelight of Europe's top leagues, Solskjaer has made a name for himself by winning two Tippeligaen titles in the space of three years. He rejected an approach from Aston Villa after Alex McLeish's sacking and is keen to continue learning at his own pace.

    This mentality underlines an individual whose meticulous nature made him such a hit during his playing days and suggests the 40-year-old won't leap to the big time until he is completely ready.

    Roberto Martinez, 40

    Although Roberto Martinez is the only manager in history to experience an FA Cup win and Premier League relegation in the same week, his hard work at Wigan Athletic was recently rewarded with the managerial position at Everton.

    The sincere Spaniard imprints an attacking style in all of his teams. Martinez often favours three defenders with a five-man midfield making up the leg work across the middle. He utilises energetic wingers who must be able to continuously bomb up the line and tries to install a short passing style in each of his lineups.

    Unfortunately for the former Wigan boss, his ambition wasn't matched with significant funds at the DW Stadium. Now Martinez has a decent budget, improved squad of players and greater expectation at Goodison, it will be hugely interesting to see how his way of doing things translates to one of England's top clubs.

    Brendan Rodgers, 40

    Brendan Rodgers has taken on one of the toughest jobs in football at Liverpool. Rewarded for an excellent debut Premier League season with Swansea City, the Northern Irishman continues to face difficult exchanges over Luis Suarez's desire to leave Anfield.

    Even so, his work on the pitch deserves recognition. Rodgers has successfully moved his free-flowing Swansea style over to the Reds, helping the Merseyside club to play fast-paced, direct and exciting football. He is an extremely stern manager who doesn't take kindly to having his authority questioned, an important trait at this stage in his career.

Ages: 40-45

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    Mauricio Pochettino, 41

    The relatively inexperienced Mauricio Pochettino is yet to win anything in his managerial career, but he shows promising signs for the future. As an Espanyol player at the time of his retirement, his quick progression towards manager provided the Argentinian with a difficult first job.

    Pochettino stabilised a struggling Espanyol for two seasons, but in September 2010, his contract was terminated with the Barcelona-based club sitting at the foot of La Liga.

    Since leaving Spain, he has done a decent job as manager of Southampton. Alongside executive chairman Nicola Cortese, Pochettino is currently working on an ambitious project at St. Mary's. With signings such as Dejan Lovren and Victor Wanyama heading to the South Coast, local supporters should be excited for the future.

    Diego Simeone, 43

    Simeone's current two-year spell as manager of Atletico Madrid is his longest stint as the boss of one club. Since 2006, the man from Buenos Aires has taken charge of seven teams across Argentina, Italy and Spain. Major success has followed.

    The well-travelled individual took Estudiantes to their first league title in 23 years at the end of 2006. Despite a poor showing in the Copa Libertadores, he won the 2008 Argentinian Premier League with River Plate. Spells at San Lorenzo, Catania and Racing saw Simeone gain further experience before he joined Atletico in 2011.

    Since heading to La Liga, the 43-year-old has seen his stock skyrocket. Atletico have claimed the 2011-12 Europa League, 2012 European Cup Cup and 2012-13 Copa Del Rey under his leadership. Simeone also put up a good fight in last season's La Liga, helping Atletico to second place until the latter stages of the campaign.

    Frank de Boer, 43

    Dropping straight into the top of Dutch management with a job as Netherlands assistant manager, Frank de Boer was always going to be successful. Since being given the Ajax job in 2010, he has enjoyed nothing but victory at the club that defines his career.

    Three Eredivisie titles in two-and-a-half years at the helm puts de Boer in a similar position to Andre Villas-Boas when he left Porto. How will "Big Frank" fare away from the cushy surroundings of the Amsterdam Arena?

    Antonio Conte, 44

    Antonio Conte is another manager who has plenty of experience in little time. At the age of 44, he has already managed five teams, starting in Italy's Serie D and working up to the country's top flight. Unsurprisingly, after winning Serie B with Bari and spending time at Arezzo, Atalanta and Siena, Conte returned to Juventus for a stint in the hot seat.

    The Juve legend has a meticulous nature. He has won two Serie A titles as manager of the Turin club and added the Supercoppa Italiana to his roll of honours since hanging up his boots. Conte's teams are drilled to close any free space, tackle hard and to keep the ball moving.

    With Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez added to his lineup for next season, expect to see Conte's attacking style develop significantly. He will be looking to add a sense of overwhelming power to the squad's offense and is likely to deploy Tevez in an energetic linking role around the a brutish Spaniard, who could take the league by storm.

    Vitor Pereira, 45

    Interestingly, Vitor Pereira only played amateur football during his time on the pitch. He spent many years coaching junior sides and became head coach at A.D Sanjoanense of the Portuguese third division in 2004.

    Nine years later, he has spent spells at Espinho, Santa Clara and Porto. He currently manages Al-Ahli and was recently linked with the Everton job.

    Portugal is obviously a breeding ground for young managers. If you can get in at either Porto or Benfica, success is going to emerge. Echoing Andre Villas-Boas once again, Pereira claimed a domestic title, cup and UEFA Super Cup during his two-year spell with the club.

    He is a coach through and through, born to develop players and help them reach their potential. Periera's football experience kills the assertion that you must be a top player to make it as a world-class manager. At 45, don't rule him out of the national job one day.

    Which next-generation managers and coaches do you believe will reach momentous heights across the coming years? Let me know in the comments section below and be sure to hit me up on Twitter:

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