What it takes to be an effective Premier League club manager

Many football supporters around the world dream of one day playing a role in the most prestigious league in the world, the Premier League. The vast majority of them, of course, dream of becoming elite PL players, but this is a highly uncertain path that is likely to end up in a frustrating way.

Perhaps more possible, though, is playing a managerial role. And that’s what we are going to be discussing today, exposing facts and some paths that future managers can take to become effective Premier League club managers.

However, there’s still a very important point that needs to be addressed before getting to our guide. There are some differences between the routes that foreign and UK managers need to take before actually managing a PL club. We will also discuss these points to enhance the overall comprehension of the topic.

Managerial licences

Just like in other jobs, there are also some theoretical steps before effectively getting to action when it comes to becoming a football manager. That means that elite managers have their managerial licences, which would be their uni degree equivalent.

With that said, we have different licences across the globe. A manager coming from South America – like Mauricio Pochettino, Marcelo Bielsa, and Manuel Pellegrini – will probably have a licence from South American football governing body CONMEBOL. Someone coming from Africa will have a licence issued by the continent’s own body, and so on.

This is the first step in becoming an overall football manager.

As we are talking about the Premier League, and this is a league that belongs to the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), a licence issued by this association is required in order to manage at a professional level in the PL.

To get your UEFA Pro Licence, you need to go through a course from UEFA itself. Once you join this course, you are going to have access to some managerial skills, old and modern football tactics, and much more.

These skills will be useful in a manager’s career, and although elite managers will develop new ways of playing football with their respective teams in the future, the things you are going to see once taking your UEFA Pro Licence will probably be useful at some point. If not, at least you are going to be able to manage at an elite level both domestically and in European games, just like in the Champions League and UEFA Europa League, as a licence is required for managers to coach their clubs, too.

And this brings us to another point, as even a manager coming from a country that doesn’t belong to UEFA can get their UEFA licence, as did the aforementioned managers here in this section.

Leadership and managerial skills

Some managers are born leaders, and you can tell it from the moment they speak, or just by the way they walk. These have higher chances of becoming successful managers in the future, as leadership is one of the most important skills one can have when it comes to managing football clubs.

When we talk about the Premier League, things get even deeper, as most of the clubs have lots of stars, and it’s crucial for a coach to manage his players’ egos. Some major players can get to a point where they think they are bigger than the manager or the club.

Charisma is also another really important skill successful managers have. We can mention Jurgen Klopp as one of the most charismatic figures in football right now, and as far as we’ve seen, he’s been making wonders with a not-so-expensive Liverpool squad.

A mix involving charisma, leadership, and good results on the pitch can make you become a memorable manager whether you are at a normal club or in the Premier League.

Former players – the easiest path

It is also important that we cover the most common example we come across when talking about managerial roles.

The truth must be said: it seems to be easier for former players to become successful managers, as they already have contacts in the football world, and these contacts can help to open up the managerial doors for former players.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that managers without a player background cannot be highly successful and even win World Cups, just like Carlos Alberto Parreira did with Brazil way back in 1994.

Two very good examples of that situation are Chelsea’s Frank Lampard and Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta. Lampard has been studying and reportedly dedicating his free time to become a successful senior manager since he had retired from professional football. 

The former Chelsea’s number eight got a managing job at Premiership side Derby County and showed his class as a manager before getting the Chelsea job. 

Arteta’s path was even softer than Lampard’s, as he became Pep Guardiola’s assistant coach at Manchester City. He didn’t have room to eventually take Pep’s place as senior manager at the Skyblues, but his time spent there wasn’t in vain, as he became Arsenal’s senior manager four years after.

Regardless of how these two have been doing currently in the PL. it proves our point of how being a former EPL player can effectively open up doors.

So, what does it take to be an effective PL club manager? 

Besides mandatory licences, and some kind of portfolio – be it through actual jobs you’ve taken as a manager, or in the form of contacts you’ve gathered throughout your career as a player, it is important to have natural or acquired leadership, managerial skills, and a little bit of luck, of course.

Chances are higher for former players that have developed such leadership skills throughout their player careers, but it is possible to make it as an unknown person who will progress through ranks in a football club in order to one day become the senior manager. 

Once a person has a career as a senior football manager in a non-PL club, then you are going to need to display your skills and, once again, progress through the ranks by getting better contracts at more respected clubs – preferably in European top-tier leagues.

If you do that, you could be invited to manage a PL club sometime. These individuals, if that happens, need to know their worth and execute appropriately. The Premier League is the most competitive league in the world where even expensive clubs can go down if managed in a wrong way.

What it takes to be an effective Premier League club manager

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