Scottish Premiership: 4 Reasons Why Neil Lennon Should Manage an EPL Club
Despite taking over at Celtic a few seasons back after the disastrous tenure of Tony Mowbray, Neil Lennon has only recently started to silence those who doubted his ability to cope with the pressure of managing at Parkhead.
Last season's Champions League run, which saw them progress through the group stages after beating Barcelona, and seeing off Spartak Moscow and Benfica, proved that Lennon was capable of of going head to head with some of the finest coaches on the Continent—and that he could come out on top.
This summer saw him linked with a move to the EPL with Everton, and although Roberto Martinez was eventually chosen as David Moyes's replacement at Goodison, Lennon's name will be in the frame once more as soon as the next vacancy down south opens up.
Naturally, there are plenty of reasons why Neil Lennon should stay with Celtic, and look to build on the success he's already had, but we're not going to look at any of those here—where would be the fun in that?
Instead, let's play devil's advocate for a while, and think about why Lennon might consider packing in his job at Celtic, and heading for the bright lights of the EPL.
He's Taken Celtic as Far as Possible
As mentioned previously, and endlessly ever since it happened, Celtic qualified from their Champions League group last season to make it to the last 16 stage for only the third time since the tournament was revamped as the Champions League.
Yet despite their success, over the two legs of the tie they were brushed aside without Juventus really needing to break sweat.
And there was the feeling that the knockout stage of the Champions League was perhaps a bridge too far for Neil Lennon and his Celtic side.
But isn't that always going to be the case?
Even if Celtic were to repeat their exploits from last season, and make it through the group stages once more, it's going to reach a point where Lennon will realise he can't take Celtic any further, and with limitations on the finances he has at his disposal, and the quality of player he's able to work with, he might decide he wants a new challenge elsewhere.
He'd Get to Work with Better Players
This summer, Neil Lennon had to watch as two of his best players – Victor Wanyama and Gary Hooper – left for the English Premier League to join Southampton and Norwich City respectively.
In the modern game, managers know that money talks. They know that players will go where the financial rewards are greater, and Lennon ought to be familiar with the situation by now.
Nevertheless, it must be frustrating to see such players leave Celtic for weaker and smaller sides, purely because the money is there.
If Lennon were in charge of even a lower half EPL side, the shoe would be on the other foot, and come the transfer window he'd be in the position of a buyer, as opposed to the seller he is at the moment.
He'd Have a Bigger Profile
Neil Lennon has nothing to prove to those who argue that he doesn't have what it takes as a manager.
All he has to do is point to his Champions League record, casually remind those detractors that all of that was done on the tightest of budgets, and wait for the grudging acceptance as the realisation sinks in.
At the same time though, it is surely tempting to think about competing in the same league as some of Europe's strongest teams and to have big games every other week, instead of having to wait until the Champions League comes around to really test the capabilities of your side.
It Could Be a Stepping Stone to Something Bigger
When Davie Moyes left Everton this summer to replace Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, it must have been a source of inspiration for managers up and down the country.
Here was a hardworking manager, with a fantastic attitude, who'd worked his way up from modest beginnings, who had 'paid his dues' as it were, and who was now being rewarded with a shot at the biggest job in football.
It wasn't just big news – it was a great story as well.
And what's more, it serves as evidence that managers can make it to the very top even if they start out much further down.
Neil Lennon is starting his managerial career with Celtic, a bigger club than Moyes did with Preston, but he might well imagine his own career taking on a similar trajectory, and a move to the EPL could be the first step towards making that a reality.