Are English managers shoved too soon into their careers? If you trust Gerard Houllier, then the answer is a firm yes. The former Liverpool and Lyon manager has been reported to say that in England, new managers are actually a bane to the game and they need to gather experience first to move into top flight management.
In France, you cannot become a manager when you step out of your career as a player. Would a manager of a big company put somebody without experience into a key position in his company? No, he would not, but they do in football. As a player, you think of yourself and your career.The manager has the vision of the club and has got to think of a strategy. You need to develop them and prepare them. I have never felt England had this culture of developing coaches. Whether it is Bryan, Stuart or Gareth, I’m sure they’d have liked to go up the different steps and to have two or three years as an assistant manager.
To a certain extent, you have to accept Houllier’s philosophy. After all, management does require some basic experience and homework. And for that you need time. On the other hand, there is this if-you-are-good-enough-you-are-old-enough adage that is applied to players as well as to managers. But on the balance, Gerard Houllier’s criticism of English management system is fair enough. After all, there are not too many world class home-grown managers, are there?