Friday 21

Huddersfield Town

EFL managers that appear destined for the Premier League

10th January 2020, 08:56 by Tom McGarry

Premier League clubs still seem to hold a reluctance to appoint managers from the EFL but that is a way of thinking that surely needs to change.

We have already seen five Premier League clubs change their managers this season, Watford doing so twice, but on each occasion, the new man to come in has either been sourced from abroad or has previously coached in the top-flight.

However, clubs may be better served looking a little bit further down the football pyramid when sourcing a new boss, as there is a wealth of sometimes untapped talent just waiting for an opportunity.

There is already evidence of that in the Premier League, with Brighton now playing an attractive brand of football after taking a risk on former Swansea boss Graham Potter, while the likes of Sean Dyche, Eddie Howe and Chris Wilder have had to do things more organically by earning promotion with their respective clubs.

All these coaches have taken to top-flight management like ducks to water, which begs the question, why are more clubs not willing to take a similar risk?

We have taken a look at three current EFL managers that could more than do a job in the Premier League.

Steve Cooper – Swansea

If Potter earned the right to a Premier League job after guiding Swansea to a 10th-place finish in the Championship last season, then his successor, former England youth coach Cooper, cannot be far away either given he currently has the Swans in the playoff positions.

Cooper, with a restricted budget, has not only managed to get the best out of a young squad that is filled with academy products, but he has also galvanised returning stars like Andre Ayew and Borja Baston, who now look keen to remain at the Liberty Stadium for the long-term.

The 40-year-old may not be loudest or most controversial talker in his pre and post-match interviews, but he certainly seems like a man players and supporters alike can get behind.


Danny Cowley – Huddersfield

Cowley was thrust into the spotlight after guiding Lincoln to the FA Cup quarter-finals and promotion back to the Football League in 2017 – just a few years after he was working as a PE teacher.

The 41-year-old then guided the Imps to League One last season and after an impressive start to the current campaign, he was snapped up by a Huddersfield side that was wilting in the Championship.

However, like he has done at all his previous clubs, Cowley steadied the ship at the John Smith’s Stadium and he has now got the Terriers moving in the right direction once again.

If they can continue on that upward trajectory over the coming months, then surely a Premier League club must take a chance on this rising star.

Gareth Ainsworth – Wycombe

The Football League’s longest-serving manager, Ainsworth has been in charge of Wycombe since September 2012 and he has guided the Chairboys from the bottom of League Two to the cusp of the Championship.

Indeed, it is a remarkable achievement that Ainsworth has Wycombe sitting top of League One, given they have one of the smallest budgets in the division and were tipped to be fighting relegation at the start of the season.

The 46-year-old has shown great loyalty to the Buckinghamshire club as well, as he has rejected interest from the Championship in the past, but it is perhaps the Premier League where he is, or at least should be, destined for.

It will certainly be hard to ignore if Ainsworth does lead Wycombe to the second tier for the first time in their history this season.

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Tom McGarry completed his sports journalist degree in 2011,and has since has become an integral part of the editorial and audio team. He is passionate about all things sport, particularly football, and is a lifelong supporter of his hometown club Carlisle United.

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