If appointed, what could Eddie Howe bring to Celtic?

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 30 March 2021, 11:31

In his second season as a Premier League manager, then Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe orchestrated a stunning comeback against Liverpool.

With 15 minutes left on the clock the Cherries were 3-1 down to Jurgen Klopp’s side, but thrashed home three goals without reply to record a remarkable 4-3 win.

The compelling clash was one of the games of the season; full of drama, entertainment, and attacking football.

Howe isn’t a manager who likes his teams to sit back and soak up pressure. Instead, he wants his side to play expansive, attacking football, with a fighting spirit to the end.

The Liverpool victory was just one of a multitude of highlights during Howe’s 11 years at the club - across two managerial spells - whom he propelled from 91st in the Football League to a five-year stay in the Premier League.

Howe left Bournemouth back in August following the club’s relegation down to the Championship, fast-forward to Spring and he’s perhaps surprisingly yet to return to management.

But make no mistake about it, he could have returned if he’d wanted too, there’s been plenty of opportunities at big Championship clubs. Yet Howe, no doubt recharged and reenergised, has been waiting for the right opportunity.

Over the weekend bookmakers once again installed Howe as the favourite in a topsy-turvy next Celtic manager market, which had Roy Keane as the frontrunner last week. 

There’s a feeling that Howe is waiting to see what happens at Newcastle and Crystal Palace, who could both change managers in the summer, while there’s a job going at Sheffield United, and Sam Allardyce could leave West Brom.

But playing the waiting game has its risks, surely a move north of the border to Celtic - where there’s a definite vacancy - would appeal to a hungry young manager keen to continue his dugout development. 

The opportunity to thrive in a high-pressure environment in front of passionate supporters at a big club which consistently challenges for multiple honours doesn’t come around too often.

There’s likely to be more twists and turns before Celtic eventually appoint Neil Lennon’s successor, but here’s what Howe could bring to the Hoops should he be named as the new incumbent.

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Eddie Howe: Next Celtic Manager?

Valuable experience

The Roy Keane rumours refuse to go away but despite his Celtic connection, is someone who has not managed outright in a decade really the right person to take the Hoops forward?

Since Keane last managed in January 2011 (Ipswich), Howe has elevated himself into the top bracket of English managers in the game today.

He’s only 43-years-old, yet he’s accrued 13 years of managerial experience spanning four leagues, during which he achieved three promotions.

Howe’s managed over 500 games - the majority of which were at Bournemouth - which is more than John Kennedy, Keane, Enzo Maresca, Frank Lampard, and Nicky Butt combined; other names that feature in the betting for the Celtic job.

Howe also has more Premier League experience than Brendan Rodgers did when he ventured to Celtic in the summer of 2016. Two-and-a-half-years later the latter had won seven trophies and overseen a staggering 69-game unbeaten run.

Howe’s stock may not be as sky-high as it once was. He’s previously been touted as a future England manager, while he’s been linked with Man Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham. He’s even been compared to Pep Guardiola (scroll further down for video).

Yet, he’ll have learnt a lot about himself from the final few months of his Bournemouth tenure, and while there have inevitably been questions over whether he could handle a cauldron of pressure at Celtic, there is only one way to find out. 

Attacking football

Howe is a modern manager who will look to implement an entertaining brand of expansive football. He likes his teams to attack and entertain, he’s not one to sit back and hope to grab a goal out of nothing, he wants to go out and win games.

Bournemouth played on the front-foot, and while that could often hinder them from a defensive perspective, they always wanted to entertain their fans. The results could be spectacular, from a thrilling 4-3 victory over Klopp’s Liverpool to a 4-0 hammering of Chelsea. Over the years he also oversaw wins over the likes of Man Utd, Tottenham, and Arsenal.

There were of course dark days, but his positive approach to the game is one reason why many Celtic fans are calling for an appointment.

Hunger and self-improvement

Both Celtic and Howe are keen to start a new project. 

At Bournemouth Howe managed to inspire a struggling League Two club that was at rock-bottom with the threat of liquidation hanging over it. He was just 31 at the time of his appointment, meaning he had to learn on the go. 

Through a combination of hunger, determination, resilience and a meticulous work rate, he negotiated a route up the league ladder and into the top-flight.

Howe transformed the mentality of the club, and made the players and fans believe that anything was possible.

While Celtic aren’t exactly at rock-bottom, it does feel like it to many fans given how comprehensively they’ve been bettered by Steven Gerrard’s Rangers this season. They’ve endured a painful campaign, in which their pursuit of a tenth consecutive title was swatted away by their rivals. 

It’s a hard pill to swallow, but now a rebuild of sorts will take place in the summer, and many view Howe as the right man to kickstart a new era at Parkhead.

“I do not want to get back in just for the sake of it,” Howe told Sky Sports in November. “It would have to be something that really motivated me - I have always been very interested in any way of bettering myself whether that's as a person or looking at football.”

Both Celtic and Howe have something to prove as they each look to bounce back from their respective disappointments - the stars may well have aligned for both parties.

Focus on youth

Howe is an excellent coach who wants to improve every player that comes under his management; on both an individual and collective level - get a taste for his passion in the mic’d up video above.

At Celtic, Howe would look to develop the young players and build the academy. At Bournemouth, he gave opportunities to a range of talents, many of whom were sold for big profits.

Nathan Aké, bought for £20m in 2017, was sold for £40m three years later.

Callum Wilson cost just £3.33m and was sold for approximately £20m, while just £400,000 was spent on Ryan Fraser.

The likes of Danny Ings and Tyrone Mings also featured under Howe, with both since starring in the Premier League and for England.

Meanwhile, David Brooks is one of many exciting young talents who remain at Bournemouth.

It’s important not to overlook those that weren’t successful though. A combined £34m on Jordon Ibe and Dominic Solanke undoubtedly backfired at the time.

But while any managerial appointment is a risk, Howe is a calculated risk who represents an intriguing prospect.

Next Celtic Manager Odds

Eddie Howe

Previous Team: Bournemouth


John Kennedy

Current Team: Celtic


Roy Keane

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Enzo Maresca

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Chris Wilder

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Martin O'Neill

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Damien Duff

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Odds Correct as of 2021-04-16 10:42:26
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