8 reasons why Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe would make an excellent Manchester United manager

Gabriel Sutton by Gabriel Sutton / 03 October 2018, 11:21

Jose Mourinho’s position as Manchester United manager is surely untenable, for various reasons which are well-documented.

Gabriel Sutton reckons the club should appoint Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe as his successor.

Here’s eight reasons why.

1. Core values

Under Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United based their success on world-class coaching.

Their focus was on developing young players and helping them reach an elite standard; when that crop reached their peak, they would be the ones to guide the next generation.

In the post-Fergie era, Ed Woodward has moved the club towards more of a scatter-gun approach in which ready-made stars are shoehorned into the club, hoping that things would fall into place.

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This approach, much like the ‘Galactico’ model, has successfully sold shirts, but failed to produce results on the pitch, with no title challenge in over half a decade.

While Howe, of course, wants the Bournemouth board to bring the right players in – Jefferson Lerma has proved an excellent addition - he also embraces the challenge of developing the players he already has.

2. Attacking football

Howe is a 4-4-2 disciple, encouraging one forward to play a withdrawn role whilst one runs the channels and likes wide men to roam and provide overloads.

His centre-backs can distribute with the efficiency of deep-lying playmakers – Nathan Ake Dean Courth form would suggest that Victor Lindelof’s ball-playing qualities would come to the fore.

Full-backs combine intelligently with others in the opposing half and it is very possible that, under Howe, the likes of Diogo Dalot and Luke Shaw would move up another level.

He is adventurous enough to stay true to Manchester United’s identity, but savvy enough to bring them into the modern era.

 

3. Late goals

Manchester United in their pomp were famed for their willingness to fight until the very end of games, to not take no for an answer and ultimately, to score late goals; Howe would bring that back.

Since the start of last season, his current side have conceded the first goal in 27 Premier League games; they have taken 24 points from those encounters, scoring 28 goals, thus highlighting their capacity to come from behind.

They have scored a combined 31 goals in their last 45 top flight matches, which means that when a Cherries match hits the 60-minute mark, there is approximately a 69% chance that they will hit the net – and that’s with talented but middling Premier League players.

Imagine what a force an Eddie Howe team would be late on if it contained elite performers like Romelu Lukaku, Juan Mata and Alexis Sanchez?

4. He lets others take credit

Whenever Howe has made a successful substitution that has led to one of these late goals, he has rarely if ever taken credit for it himself.

On one occasion he said it is “always down to the individual” and not the manager, on another he praised the fitness of his players.

That’s a very shrewd way of handling things, because while Howe knows he’ll still get external credit for his decision, he is also admired for having the humility to allow his players the limelight.

One of the reasons Jose Mourinho’s Old Trafford tenure has gone awry is that he has launched public, scathing attacks on his own players with snide comments.

A happy dressing room can only be maintained if the manager supports his players.

5. He has respect

After an opening day win over Cardiff, Howe was asked about sharing the touchline with Neil Warnock, who was in typically vociferous mood: “it’s always colourful, but he’s someone I’ve got so much respect for and he’ll show this season what a top manager he is.”

By contrast, Mourinho has called Arsene Wenger a “specialist in failure”, he has had a go at Antonio Conte for over-celebrating, he has had an ongoing feud with Pep Guardiola along with various other stories…

 

Not every saga surrounding Mourinho has been accurate and fair but equally, he has brought a lot of them on himself and many are growing tired of the childish jibes.

It would make a very refreshing change for Manchester United fans to have a manager who carries himself with class and who ensures that all the focus is on the pitch.

6. He is stubborn

Although Howe is respectful to others, he also has a strong belief in his own methods.

In 2015, he entered a Premier League in which Mourinho’s functional Chelsea side were champions and West Brom boss Tony Pulis was considered king of managers outside the elite.

The former defender adapted his 2014-15 Championship title-winning template slightly by adding extra pace, but his belief in attacking football didn’t change.

This stubbornness has brought Bournemouth great success; since promotion, they have failed to score against a team outside the top six on just 13 occasions out of 83.

In the same timeframe, United have failed to score against a team outside the top six on 15 occasions out of 90.

7. He’d get the best out of Pogba

One argument against Howe is that he might not have the credence to command star names within the squad, like Paul Pogba.

However, Pogba’s grievance with Mourinho was the disrespect he showed and the defensive football; Howe would change both of those things.

The Amersham-born boss would only play one holding midfielder, most likely Nemanja Matic, giving other players the freedom to take some of the creative burden off Pogba.

8. He’s experienced

Howe might be the youngest Premier League manager at 40 but, perhaps surprisingly, he is also the most experienced; the former defender has managed 121 top flight games.

He took charge of Bournemouth when they were in financial turmoil and fearing for their Football League future, then led them to three promotions and a ninth-placed finish in 2016-17 – their highest ever position - across two stints.

 

Naturally, managing one of the biggest clubs in the world would bring different types of challenges but Howe is a very strong-willed, intelligent man who is more than capable of adapting.

While Zinedine Zidane is the current favourite and the name more likely to catch Ed Woodward’s eye when Mourinho leaves, Howe is the man they should pursue.

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