In an era where the Premier League and English football is dominated by non-British managers, Eddie Howe has gone under the radar and is arguably the best young manager in England.
Eddie Howe has been connected to AFC Bournemouth throughout his career – either as a player or as a manager. Howe first showed his managerial prowess by hauling the club out of the League Two relegation places when he took over permanently in the latter stages of the 2008/09 season.
By the end of the 2009/10 season, he led Bournemouth to promotion to League One. Howe then went on to manage Burnley for 21 months before rejoining his beloved Bournemouth as manager for the second time. By the end of the 2014/15 season, Howe had done the unthinkable – secured promotion to the Premier League.
Howe is he unique?
So what is it that makes Eddie Howe such a special manager? In my opinion, it is his style of play which sets him apart from many other British managers. Howe has a specific style of play which he prefers and more than likely will always use. He likes his team to pass the ball and keep the ball on the ground as much as possible, with slick, quick and accurate passing.
His style is evident in every player who he selects, starting from the goalkeeper. Howe encourages his shot-stoppers to pass the ball out from the back. He has sometimes been criticised for not changing his style when facing bigger sides but he has stuck to his way of playing, which shows he has mental strength and that he will not be easily influenced by comments made against him.
When asked about his style, Howe said, “I’ve made it very clear since day one of pre-season: we’re not going to change our style of football for anybody.”
However, his side has often been guilty of overplaying and have been caught out many times, but Howe still encourages his players to continue to do it which shows he has real belief in his philosophy. This belief then rubs off onto the players, who have produced some stunning footballing displays this season.
When Bournemouth were promoted to the Premier League, Howe was asked about making the step up to the Premier League. “We won’t forsake our principles,” he said. “For me, the best way to try to win in the Premier League is to try to do what we have done this season and dominate the ball.”
He deserves credit because at times, his side has been under major pressure but his calming influence on the side has resulted in them avoiding difficult situations. His man-to-man management of the young players is fascinating as he allows them to express themselves on the field. He puts his full trust in them which brings out the best in the players.
Also, his relationship with the hierarchy at the club is magnificent, which ensures there is no tension at the club. Howe has been appointed with a job and he focuses solely on completing the job. His relationship with the fans is also extremely positive and he is considered one of the biggest legends in the clubs history.
No nonsense on and off the field
Howe doesn’t tend to get involved in the pre-match mind games and controversial comments. He is straight to the point and the conducts himself in a very professional manner on all occasions. I can’t recall a moment where Howe has been involved in a touchline bust-up with opposition coaches or players. He sets a great example for young British players, which is why so many of them want to join Bournemouth.
Eddie Howe likes to sign players who are well suited to his style of play. What is great about him is that he aspires to sign as many young British players as he can, who he then develops into experienced Premier League players. Callum Wilson is a prime example. Other examples include: Jordon Ibe, Benik Afobe, Marc Pugh, Charlie Daniels, Ryan Fraser and many more. Howe developed Wilson into a goal-scoring machine in the Championship but even after promotion, Howe stuck with his forward.
Typically, when a side is promoted to the Premier League, they sign a ‘big name’ foreign striker to help them survive their first season, but not Howe. He showed faith and trust in his English striker as well as the rest of his Championship winning squad, which led them to survival in their first season in the top flight.
Even after Wilson was sadly injured, Howe replaced him with more young and pacy talent like Josh King who is scoring at will in the Premier League this season.
Howe also proved his authority as manager through his handling of on-loan Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere. Wilshere, a big name English player, would expect to walk into the starting XI of a bottom half club. However, Howe insisted that Wilshere will have to fight for a place in the side and also left him on the bench on many occasions, showing that he values hard-work and team spirit.
I find it shocking that no ‘big club’ in the Premier League has considered hiring Howe as manager. The way he encourages his team to play is similar to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. However, with increasing speculation that Arsene Wenger will leave Arsenal at the end of the season, it opens the door for the Gunners to make a move for Howe. It is no secret that the Gunners like slick passing football, something which Howe can deliver at the Emirates.
Howe was also in the list to succeed former England manager Sam Allardyce, who was eventually succeeded by fellow Englishman Gareth Southgate. However, I can see Eddie Howe managing England in the next 5-10 years, simply because of his desire to nurture young English talent and to give them the confidence to perform on the biggest stage.
One thing for sure, Howe deserves to be appreciated for encouraging his players to play the ‘beautiful game’ in an entertaining manner.
Do you think Eddie Howe will manage a top 4 club in the near future? Or will he remain loyal to Bournemouth?
Can he manage England?
Let us know by leaving a comment below! or letting us know on Twitter @AllOutFootball_