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brennan's brief How Gerrard, Lampard and Rooney just might have what it takes to win a Premier League


Steven Gerrard (right) wants to keep Philippe Coutinho smiling (Nick Potts/PA)

Steven Gerrard (right) wants to keep Philippe Coutinho smiling (Nick Potts/PA)

Steven Gerrard (right) wants to keep Philippe Coutinho smiling (Nick Potts/PA)

It remains one of the crazy soccer statistics – that no Englishman has ever lead a team to Premier League glory.

Yes, Howard Wilkinson at Leeds in 1992, in the old First Division, is the last time an Englishman was good enough to win it all in his own land.

(If you want to call Alex Ferguson English to his face, I suggest you have a powerful motorbike nearby, revved up and ready to go)

Now to be fair to English managers, many of the best English club sides of the last 30 years have been in the hands of Fergie, of Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho and now Pep Guardiola, Thomas Tuchel and Jurgen Klopp.

Yet there are a trio of young English managers coming along who might change that stat in the coming seasons. I’m thinking of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney.

Everything Gerrard has done in his short management career so far has been an audition for the day he takes over from Klopp at Liverpool. Not ‘if’, but ‘when’.

Turning Rangers around was a good start in his first job and now he is learning Premier League lessons at Aston Villa. On Wednesday night, his Villa side went toe-to-toe with Leeds in a bona fide Premier League classic at Villa Park.

Gerrard showed serious tactical nous in getting the better of Marcelo Bielsa’s attacking Leeds team by pushing his full-backs right up the pitch to get at the Leeds defence. Aston Villa scored three times in the match.


Derby County manager Wayne Rooney

Derby County manager Wayne Rooney

Derby County manager Wayne Rooney

Now he well knew that the wily fox Bielsa had seen all this before and would know well what to do. Sure enough, Leeds’ left-winger Jack Harrison created two of his sides’ three goals with crosses after he had slipped into space vacated by the home full-back Matty Cash.

But if Gerrard is willing to go toe-to-toe with a legend like Bielsa at this stage of his career, it means he has a confidence about him that will serve him well as a boss.

Wayne Rooney is doing it from the bottom up. His Derby County side would not be in a Championship relegation scrap but for points deductions imposed on the club for financial mis-management. Rooney clearly has the loyalty of the Derby players.

Ireland’s Jason Knight, for one, surely had offers to leave Derby last summer and again in January. But he chose not to do so - to stay and try and keep the club in England’s second tier.

Lampard had almost got Derby out of the Championship in 2019, but they lost in the play-off final. He was then given the Chelsea job, perhaps much too soon, for a young boss who had actually played with too many of the Chelsea playing staff.

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Now ‘Super Frankie Lampard’ is rebuilding his management at Everton, where his short-term task is to stave off relegation and to build something a bit more stable in the wake of the disastrous Rafa reign at Goodison Park.

His future, and Gerrard’s and Rooney’s, will be well worth watching.

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