Tim Sherwood’s honeymoon looks to be coming to an end. After an excellent start to life as Head Coach of Tottenham, the Englishman is now having to face the harsh reality of the Premier League grind. His appointment was a u-turn in policy from a club that has more often than not favoured continental expertise ahead of local stock; so are Spurs leading the way in an English managerial revival?
I think dubbing Levy as some kind of champion of English talent is going a little bit too far. The appointment of Sherwood was more out of necessity than anything else, with the list of managers worryingly short in a World Cup year. Had the likes of van Gaal, Klinsmann and Laudrup been available, the situation Spurs find themselves in could have been a whole lot different.
But that shouldn’t matter, because however it has happened Sherwood has been given his chance and so far he seems to be grabbing it. A loss against City is the only league defeat in a convincing start that has seen Adebayor return from exile and lead the club back to some semblance of goal scoring form.
Sherwood’s tenure though has been overly romanticised, and given the squad Spurs have, any change in management was likely to coincide with an upturn in form. Motivation and spirit only gets you so far, and for me this is the reason why English managers populate the Premier League so sparsely.
For some the uncomplicated approach to football is refreshing, a more expressive and fluid style that is perceived as being easier on the eye than the continental product. But I’m afraid those that think ‘the go out and enjoy yourselves’ and lets not worry too much about tactics approach is sufficient at a top-level club are blinkered.
Sherwood approached the City game with the view that they would simply outscore them, a perception that would have undoubtedly led to ridicule across most of Europe’s top clubs. Mourinho’s tactical disassembly of City last night was an excellent case in point; when it comes to the very best clubs, the simplicity of English thinking just doesn’t hold up.
I could be accused of generalising, but in reality most of England’s top coaches follow this line of thinking. Spurs have seen it with Redknapp and Newcastle with Keegan; is it any wonder an English manager hasn’t won the Premier League?
You can castigate Premier League chairmen for not giving Englishmen an opportunity as much as you like, but based on current experiences it isn’t all that surprising. Clashes between the top sides in Europe are as much about footballing thought as they are personnel, treating all opposition the same is an oversight often made by the English and one that is wholly wrong.
AVB had his faults but to condemn him for being a meticulous analyst of football is unfair, because when it comes down to it, this is the reason why English coaches are failing. A bit of character and personality is fine because that is what our game is about, but to be so narrow minded in our approach is harmful.
Most of us would love to see more English coaches at the very top level, but for that to happen there must be a cultural shift. Instead of brushing off continental bosses as overly technical, we need to start embracing it.
Sherwood’s Spurs are living in a bubble at the moment, playing on their individual abilities and a wave of confidence. The right mentality alone won’t carry them back to the Champions League, and I desperately hope that Sherwood realises this before it becomes too late.
Attackers attack, defenders defend and midfielders do a bit of both. This was the gist of Sherwood’s pre-match thoughts ahead of West Brom recently, and it underlines the problem. It’s simplicity bordering on the damn right stupid.
Levy must honestly wonder what he is actually paying him for.