International tournaments are often billed as a shop window for previously lesser-known players. The eyes of the world are on teams and players that wouldn’t usually be given the time of day. Names like James Rodriguez, Xherdan Shaqiri and Joshua Kimmich have all used World Cups and European Championships to announce themselves. With the managerial imbroglio, could the same be true of managers? Why shouldn’t we see the appointment of, say, Roberto Martinez at Tottenham Hotspur, or perhaps another manager that shines at Euro 2020?
Tottenham Manager Search: Euro 2020 Options
Domestic and International Differences
Of course, there’s the caveat that international football is a whole different kettle of fish from week-to-week domestic action. Arguments that any such appointments are last-minute panics spurred on by internationalist hype. But these clubs have already allowed themselves to begin approaching pre-season without someone in the hot seat. Such accusations will swirl regardless.
Of the bosses at Euro 2020, the obvious and most realistic option would be for Belgium’s Roberto Martinez to become the new Tottenham manager. Former Scotland international and everyone’s second favourite Scottish presenter on TalkSport, Alan Brazil, recently noted how the job was available for him, should he choose to accept.
One should always be careful of forming opinions based on information gleaned through the unsubstantiated grapevine. But on paper, it would appear to be a positive appointment for all involved.
After five years in international football, including a World Cup semi-final appearance, it would be the ideal time for him to step back into club management. This Belgian ‘Golden Generation’ appears to be at its apex, probably requiring fresh vision and new blood after the tournament.
Tottenham would be the most high-profile club job he has held to date, and he would bring a number of positive attributes to White Hart Lane. An attractive, attacking style of play would be just the tonic to mitigate the defensive dour of Jose Mourinho’s tenure.
He previously won the FA Cup in 2013 under the most unexpected of circumstances. In 2013, he took Wigan Athletic to cup glory over the petrodollars of Manchester City, a feat more recent than Spurs’ last FA Cup win, and obviously appetising to success-starved fans.
He has worked with Toby Alderweireld on international duty and often drawn the best out of him. Martinez could be the man to revitalise a defence characterised by spasmodic bouts of instability, constant changes and incoherent tactics.
If the move for Martinez fails to materialise, then there’s another option waiting from these Euros. Andriy Shevchenko may be best known in England for an underwhelming stint with Chelsea. But his foray into the management of the national side has yielded impressive results.
In qualification for Euro 2020, Ukraine were one of only five undefeated sides. They topped a group containing heavily fancied Portugal, and their record earned them top seeding for the draw proper. He secured promotion to the top division of the UEFA Nations League in 2018 and has guided Ukraine to the knock-out stages of the European Championships for the first time in their history.
What’s more, he has overseen a transition from a regimentally over-defensive style of play to one that sees more attacking interchange and player confidence. All this is that much more impressive for a country that has experienced invasions, internal separatism and political revolution.
Promises of attacking football should not raise a candidate out from the rest at Tottenham. But that is only because it should be a prerequisite. This is not even to begin talking about the stellar work done by Denmark’s Kasper Hjulmand. His quarter-final run is particularly laudable in the aftermath of the Christian Eriksen incident. With plenty of tournament football still to come, there could yet be more contenders announcing themselves to the continent.
The point is, Tottenham do not need to panic. Much like Harry Kane is trying not to distract himself with Manchester City transfer talk, it is understandable that managers don’t want to concern themselves with their post-tournament futures yet.
A positive appointment, coupled with directorial backing, is key. But the scale of the rebuilding job at hand, coupled with the meatgrinder of modern football that chews up managers nearly as soon as they enter the building, means the appointment is hardly existential. Bringing Martinez to Tottenham, or anyone else that has shown positivity at the Euros, would be a step in the right direction. And for the moment, that’s all that matters.