Craig Shakespeare could end up the highest placed English manager this season, what does that say about the Premier League?by Jack Kitson / 17 March 2017, 09:38Tweet
FROM A hat-trick of defeats to a hat-trick of victories. It is impossible to deny the impact at Leicester City since first team coach Craig Shakespeare was catapulted into the main job, writes Andy Dillion (@andydillon70).
As first team manager three wins in three games, a contract until the end of the season at least and a complete turnaround in morale.
From looking down to looking up. Whether or not that is down to him, down to the sacking of Claudio Ranieri or the players’ finally putting in a shift noone will ever truly know.
But take a look at the Premier League table today and Leicester have 27 points. Take a closer look and it is not inconceivable that Shakespeare will finish the season as the highest placed English manager.
That position is presently occupied by Sean Dyche, on 31 points and in 12th place with Burnley - three ahead of rejuvenated City.
Going on current form who would bet against rampant Leicester making up enough ground for a mid-table, maybe even a top half finish from the depths of despair? Topping last season for drama when they beat odds of 5,000/1 to win the title.
City go to wobbly West Ham tomorrow, where they kick started their epic and ultimately glorious campaign last season. The Hammers are there for the taking.
Yet what does it say about the Premier League that one man can be placed in a job with his team clinging on to top flight survival by its fingertips and within just over three weeks - 22 days to be precise - he is already in contention to be our best home grown boss?
Swansea’s Paul Clement is another candidate but he is considered an old timer now having held onto his job since New Year’s Day - a remarkable feat given The Swans’ recent habit of swinging the axe.
Look above Dyche in the table and it’s an international coalition of coaches, with the exception of the English. There are Welsh, Germans, Dutch, French, Italians, Portuguese and Spaniards.
But given what Dyche has done with Burnley this season - making Turf Moor a relative fortress to scrabble enough points together for a comfortable season - that’s a better job than Arsene Wenger has done at Arsenal.
Jose Mourinho at Manchester United has been working on and covering up for the world’s most expensive player in Paul Pogba all season, while trying to work out how to get the best out of an £89 million midfielder.
His team is 6th in the table and Mourinho is only today admitting his team is way off recapturing the unshakeable durability of previous teams under Alex Ferguson.
Shakespeare has been in his job for less than a month and while it was still a gutless decision by Leicester’s Thai owners to stab Ranieri in the back, results say a lot for the new man at the helm.
Results dictate everything to chairmen and most of the watching world in modern football. Premier League survival was officially declared more important than winning the league when Ranieri got the boot.
But if so, then Shakespeare is already a nailed on winner for March’s manager of the month. Clement could finish runner up.
But it’s a sad state of affairs for the game we gave to the world that this is the best English coaches can hope for.