Former UK football icons face managerial struggles, highlighting gap between playing and coaching success

Posted : 07 January 2024

The coaching struggles of iconic former football stars in the UK, including Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, and Phil Neville, highlight the significant gap between playing prowess and managerial success. Rooney's recent dismissal from Birmingham City underlines his challenges, having failed to secure victories in 13 of 15 games, leading to a drop from sixth to 20th position. This echoes a pattern seen in other former stars turned coaches, showcasing the difficulty of transitioning from player to successful manager.


Phil Neville faced a brief stint as the manager of Valencia in 2015, enduring a mere four months with a dismal record of three wins in 16 league games and an early exit from the Champions League group stage. Similarly, Sol Campbell's coaching career faced obstacles, with a brief tenure at Macclesfield Town and subsequent relegation with Southend United, resulting in only 53 games as a coach. Despite challenges, Phil Neville rebounded to lead the England women's team to a fourth-place finish at the 2019 World Cup.


Frank Lampard's managerial journey has been turbulent, starting with a promising spell at Derby County but facing difficulties at Chelsea and Everton, with interim roles and struggles for consistent success. Steven Gerrard experienced initial success with Rangers in Scotland but struggled at Aston Villa in the Premier League, leading to his dismissal and a move to Saudi Arabia's Al-Ittifaq.


Gary Lineker acknowledges the challenges faced by these former players, emphasizing the difficulty of translating playing talent into successful coaching. Lineker suggests that starting at smaller clubs and building from the bottom might be a more effective approach, as managing big clubs involves handling both current big-name players and the pressures associated with their own legendary playing careers. The experiences of these iconic figures underscore the complex journey from player to coach in the world of football.



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