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RANKED! The 10 best English managers in football right now

Gareth Southgate, England
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The movie Mike Bassett: England Manager likes to paint English managers as something very idiosyncratic. Old-fashioned as we might be on this rainy isle, with a penchant for 4-4-2, coaching in Blighty is evolving.

We're living in a golden era of talent in this country on the pitch - and though we can't quite boast the same depth in managerial expertise, there are plenty of exciting English managers out there - and a fair few grizzled old faces who just won't be beaten. 

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With more of them coming back to the Premier League, too, it's about time we trawled through and found a few that we rate particularly highly...

10. Gareth Ainsworth

Gareth Ainsworth

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Gareth Ainsworth seems one of football's good guys and he's quite the character, too. With his long hair, jeans and leather jacket, he might look more like a dad in a rock band than a football manager but he's worked wonders at Wycombe Wanderers since 2012.

That makes him one of the longest-serving bosses in Britain, too - and it's a spell in which he's taken the Chairboys higher than they've ever been before. They may have fallen out of the Championship in their first season there - and the football might not be pretty - but his CV is one of the finest in the country for what he's achieved and he deserves a spot on this list. 

9. Chris Wilder

Sheffield United

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As a player, Chris Wilder toured around the lower leagues as a no-nonsense right-back. As a manager, no one else has been promoted from every one of the top five divisions.

In his last job, wild thing Wilder got Sheffield United promoted the Premier League in style, playing with one of the most unique iterations of a back three that anyone had ever witnessed. It may have fallen apart in the second season but Wilder has been consistently excellent throughout his career, innovating, going on cup runs and taking chances on players that other teams wouldn't touch. He's been a magnificent manager for the past two decades. 

8. Dean Smith

Dean Smith

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Dean Smith's demise at Aston Villa was particularly sad. It wasn't one of those sackings that came with a sigh of relief - rather the "is there nothing else we can do?" exclamation of fans, as if being given a terminal diagnosis. 

When things were good at Villa, they were fantastic - and Smith's failure to live without Jack Grealish should not define him as a boss. After all, he was the one who got the best out of the No.10, building on Villa's relegation survival by improving significantly in their second season in the big time. He'll be a big coup for another club before long, don't worry about that. 

7. Scott Parker

Bournemouth manager Scott Parker | Bournemouth v West Brom live stream

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There was a feeling while Fulham were plummeting last season that Scott Parker was doing all he could with the available resources. OK, so the fact he got virtually no tune out of Aleksandar Mitrovic was baffling - especially considering this season's form - but the former midfielder's commitment to playing thoughful, passing football was admirable.

He's picked up where he left off with a Bournemouth side who fluffed promotion last time out. Parker is a good organiser but the expression that allows the Cherries to play with is excellent. His team look well-drilled and dangerous - and it's credit, in part, to their gaffer. 

6. Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard

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Frank Lampard couldn't quite reach the ever-elevating expectations at Chelsea. Thomas Tuchel has since come in to prove what a real Champions League-winning manager looks like - and it's a shame for Lampard because what he'd achieved at Chelsea was good.

He took a team that had lost Eden Hazard to third in the league and an FA Cup final - and that's after leading Derby to a promotion final the season before. He's clearly a very good boss and has a good track record with youth. The comparisons with Tuchel may be stark - but the Chelsea legend is still a good manager in his own right. 

5. Eddie Howe

Eddie Howe

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Newcastle United's new manager has achieved things that some of his peers never have. Leading Bournemouth from -17 points at the bottom of League Two to survival - then three promotions - is the stuff of Football Manager.

That Howe did it playing possession, front-foot football is even better. He kept the Cherries in the league by outscoring teams rather than shutting up shop - something rare in English football - and at a club who had been through financial meltdown, he ensured that they would be fine if they went down by buying good, young players with resale value. Howe thrived in management from the day he was promoted as a rookie - and he's still one of English's brightest coaching stars. 

4. Steven Gerrard

Gerrard

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Steven Gerrard the manager is similar to Steven Gerrard the player. He's retained his relentless intensity and drive that he showed from midfield - but his football is also a lot more intelligent than you'd probably give it credit on first glance. 

The new Aston Villa manager has soared north of the border, breaking the Celtic dominance by winning a title with Rangers. He's widely tipped to take over Liverpool for a reason: he's an astute coach with apparently good man-management skills and now he's set to hone his craft as one of the best young coaches in Europe.

3. Sean Dyche

Burnley manager Sean Dyche | Burnley v Leeds live stream

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The ginger Mourinho is the longest-serving coach in the Premier League for a reason. In nearly 10 years, he's brought the Premier League to Burnley - even taking them into Europe, briefly - and he's done so with a brand of football synonymous with his gruff voice and famous scowl.

Dyche is a master of defence-first football, using that very British 4-4-2 to keep the rest of the world at bay. He's turned ordinary footballers into Premier League regulars and become a by-word for consistency with compactness and tough tackling. Big sides might not be convinced to take him on but there's arguably no one better at what he does in the country. 

2. Gareth Southgate

Gareth Southgate

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If it wasn't for Sam Allardyce and his pint of wine, we'd never have had the waistcoat, the penalty redemption and subsequent penalty heartbreak three years later of Gareth Southgate's England tenure. 

In his time leading the Three Lions, the former defender has become a national treasure, aligning the aims of the England side to fairness and progression, promoting youth and giving England a study platform to get to a semi-final and final in the past two tournaments respectively. 

What Southgate perhaps lacks in tactical acumen, he more than makes up for in terms of his man-management skills. He's a superb leader and anyone who gets England fans believing again - well, they must be pretty good at their job, right?

1. Graham Potter

Brighton head coach Graham Potter | Brighton v Manchester City live stream

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Graham Potter has had an extraordinary journey to get to where he is today, taking the long route of going to the lower tiers of Swedish football. Now he's at Brighton - and they play some of the best football in the league.

Potter ticks every box you'd want from a coach. His teams are resolute and solid at the back, excellent at going forward and entertaining to watch. He can seemingly work with experience or youth, getting newfound brilliance from anyone he works with - and the stats align to everything good that comes out of his players.

The Brighton boss is a future superstar if he isn't already one. It says a lot that the Seagulls offered him a new contract just mere games into seeing what he was doing at the club.

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