It’s fair to say that England have had some interesting managers throughout the ages, from formidable dictators to genial coaches who always seemed more than a little out of their depth (Steve McLaren, anyone?)
Assessing the best England managers is a deceptively easy pastime, however, particularly given the paucity of success that the Three Lions have enjoyed (or not) during the last 50 years or more.
In this article, we’ve reviewed the best three managers in the history of the England national side, whilst asking what sets them apart from their rivals!
Gareth Southgate (2016 to present)
We start with the current incumbent Gareth Southgate, who has defied all expectations of him whilst building a young, determined and incredibly engaging side.
The fruits of Southgate’s labour came to a head during the glorious summer of 2018, when England matched their best-ever performance at an overseas World Cup by finishing fourth in Russia.
Not only did Southgate’s side reach the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time since 1990, but he also broke the mould by picking a unified group of young players, even now with the likes of Mason Mount, and developing an attacking game plan that brought an entire nation together.
In fact, such has been their success that they are amongst the favourites to win Euro 2020 next year, so if Gareth and his team has inspired you it may be worth checking out a free sports bet no deposit that you can use to back England to win the tournament.
As if all of this wasn’t enough, Southgate also made the waistcoat fashionable again, which is a striking achievement that arguably warrants first place on our list!
Bobby Robson (1982 to 1990)
Talking about 1990, who can forget one of the most iconic and memorable tournaments in English football history? From Gary Lineker’s predatory goal against Germany in the semi-final to Paul Gascoigne’s tears, England’s march to the semi-final was incredible in more ways than one.
The mastermind behind England’s progress was the genial Bobby Robson, whose understated charm and likeability only added to the narrative as the Three Lions pursued their first World Cup win since the heady days of 1966.
Italia ‘90 also represented something of a redemption for Robson, who was lucky to survive the wrath of the press (and fans) following a disastrous European Championships in 1988.
England also more than held their own against eventual champions West Germany during an emotional semi-final, only to lose a tense penalty shootout when Chris Waddle fired wildly over the crossbar.
- Sir Alf Ramsey (1963-1974)
Be honest, who else did you expect to see at number one? After all, whilst Ramsey’s tenure may have ended in abject failure as England crashed out during qualification for the 1974 World Cup, he achieved the ultimate goal of lifting the iconic Jules Rimet trophy at Wembley in 1966.
Ramsey’s unique triumph was made all the more impressive given the resources at his disposal, as despite a relative paucity of world class players he managed to create a system and playing style that got the very best out of his charges.
Ramsey was also a tactical genius, as he eschewed the popular 4-4-2 system of the time to create his so-called ‘wingless wonders’. Switching between a lopsided 4-3-3 and a primitive 4-1-3-2, Ramsey’s system was incredibly fluid and enabled England to regularly dominate the midfield.
Thanks to 1966, Ramsey is deservedly etched in UK folklore, and he’s fully earned his place at number one on our list!