Saturday 1 October 2016

John Giles has an off the wall pick for the next England manager - but it actually makes perfect sense

Published 01/07/2016 | 10:39

NICE, FRANCE - JUNE 27: Lars Lagerback head coach of Iceland looks on prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between England and Iceland at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 27, 2016 in Nice, France. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
NICE, FRANCE - JUNE 27: Lars Lagerback head coach of Iceland looks on prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between England and Iceland at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 27, 2016 in Nice, France. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

It is so crazy that it actually makes sense.

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The managerial jostling for a big job is often as exciting as any on pitch action, and so it is proving with the speculation surrounding the England job.

From fans' horror at the prospect of Gareth Southgate to Ryan Giggs' hilarious suggestion of Louis van Gaal, supporters are set to get a good deal of enjoyment from the FA's struggle to fill 'The impossible job'.

Former FA chief Greg Dyke has publicly asked why any top manager would even want the job, which makes John Giles' suggestion both intriguing, if unlikely.

Speaking to Off The Ball on Newstalk last night, Giles proffered that since England had been so comprehensively out-thought by Iceland during their humiliating 2-1 defeat in the last 16 of the Euros, then perhaps the FA should turn to their management team of Lars Lagerback and Heimir Hallgrímsson.

"They're talking about managers in England and who's going to be the next manager," Giles said.

"I don't know who was responsible for Iceland - if it's the older guy or the younger guy or a combination of both. I would appoint them as manager.

"Whoever was responsible for Iceland knows their stuff and if I was England, looking for a manager, I would go and find out which was which, whether it was the two of them or one of them because if they can organise a team like Iceland with very limited resources, imagine what they could do with England."

What at first seems to be a kneejerk reaction to a one-off game actually has some substance behind it - especially with the candidacy of Lagerback.

The 67-year-old Swede is a bit of a fiend for the often ill-fated Roy Evans-Gerard Houllier act of the double manager, but he has made it work.

Lagerback was in charge of Sweden for nine years between 2000 and 2009, the first four of which he shared the role with Tommy Soderberg.

Success was plentiful, with Sweden qualifying for five straight major tournaments. Lagerback then became the Icelandic coach, leading them to a World Cup playoff in his first campaign in charge before teaming up with Hallgrímsson to secure Euro 2016 qualification.

What's more, Lagerback has managed against England seven times and has never been defeated.

He is set to leave the post after this summer's tournament, and with so many managers distancing themselves from the England job, it actually makes sense to chose a manager with a proven track record of international success and a low profile that means he won't immediately be hounded by the media.

John Giles' choice might sound implausible, but it is actually exactly what England need.

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