Eddie Howe followed in the footsteps of Mauricio Pochettino as he became the latest unemployed manager to showcase himself on Monday Night Football.
Smartly dressed in suit and tie, the ex-Bournemouth boss spoke about his unique journey at his beloved former club, how he’s spent the last few months, and why he’s in no rush to return to the dugout.
“It took me a long time,” Howe told Jamie Carragher and David Jones on Sky Sports after he was asked how he’d adjusted to being outside of management for the first time in 12 years.
“I found it emotionally so difficult in the first few weeks, because your every day is your love of the club, the job, the players, the staff, and then it's cut and you have no contact with anyone.”
As is the norm with high profile managers without a job, Howe has been linked with numerous posts since parting ways with The Cherries in August.
With Neil Lennon currently feeling the heat at Celtic, there has been a growing choir of support for Howe to pack his bags and venture north of the border, should Lennon vacate his post. At the time of writing Howe is the odds-on favourite, while Marco Silva is now a 3/1 shot ahead of Gordon Strachan and Jack Ross.
Over in the next Derby manager market, bosses are repeatedly trading places at the summit of the betting with the likes of John Terry, Rafa Benitez, Sam Allardyce, Steve McClaren and now Howe featuring as the favourite for the job over the course of the last 24 hours.
Howe can currently be backed at 2/1 to return to the Championship for the first time since he led Bournemouth to promotion in 2014/15.
Could we soon see the return of Eddie Howe?
As of yet, none of the 20 Premier League managers have departed, so if it’s England’s top-flight Howe wants to return to, then he may have to bide his time. Although, judging by his comments on Monday, he’s more than willing to wait it out for the right project to arise.
“I made my decision for the best interests of Bournemouth and myself,” he said when asked why he left the club. “I wanted to be at home and be with my family, to see my kids grow up, I wanted to learn and develop my knowledge and abilities as a manager.
“Then, if I decide to get back in, if I am lucky enough to get given an opportunity, I will do that. But for me, I do not want to get back in just for the sake of it, it would have to be something that really motivated me.
“It's difficult with lockdown, my options of what I imagined I might be able to do are gone in terms of watching other people work, and travelling round the world gaining knowledge and improving myself.
“It's a pretty lonely existence in terms of doing that at home, reading, I have always been very interested in any way of bettering myself whether that's as a person or looking at football.”
Howe kept his cards close to his chest but the passion in which he spoke about management was clear for everyone to see.
It’s unlikely to be too long until he steps back into the dugout. For now, Lennon is Celtic manager, while engrossing as it has been it’s proving to be a real challenge to predict who on earth will replace Phillip Cocu at Derby, especially with the prospective new owners not yet in place.
Eddie Howe on Monday Night Football...— The Sack Race (@thesackrace) November 23, 2020
"(Watching) Bournemouth has been difficult. I've had to separate myself from that because I care so much about the club." ❤️🖤
📹 @footballdaily #AFCB pic.twitter.com/Rw7GmwhreM
In regards to the Premier League, a return to Burnley - should Sean Dyche ever leave - is very unlikely. West Brom could be an option if winless Slaven Bilic exits. Despite the club’s poor start, it’s near impossible to imagine Chris Wilder leaving Sheffield United.
Fulham, especially given its location, could prove to be the ideal post for Howe. The Cottagers have sacked two managers in each of their last two top-flight seasons, however current incumbent Scott Parker will be determined to swat away his early critics and prove his credentials as a Premier League manager.