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  • Which Premier League Managers Would Get In Their Own Teams And Who Wouldn’T Even Make The Bench?

Which Premier League managers would get in their own teams and who wouldn’t even make the bench?

Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel may be able to talk the talk but could they walk the walk?

Planet Sport assesses the 20 top-flight managers to see which, at their playing prime, would have been able to force their way into the team they manage.

And, while there's good news for some, there are others who wouldn't even get into their side's EFL Cup squad.

Mikel Arteta (Arsenal)

What better place to start than a manager who actually once played for the team he now manages? Although Arteta only won seven domestic trophies, he still enjoyed a notable career at the top level of the game as a midfielder, representing PSG, Real Sociedad, and Everton in addition to the Gunners.

It's not too difficult to imagine him getting into the current Arsenal side in the heart of midfield, either. Thomas Partey has one spot nailed down, and although Arteta might be benched for Albert Sambi Lokonga, it's surely a given that he'd start ahead of Granit 'walking disciplinary issue' Xhaka.

Steven Gerrard (Aston Villa)

Among the finest midfielders England has ever produced, Gerrard spent all but 18 months of his professional career at his hometown club of Liverpool after coming through their academy. He totalled more than 700 appearances for the Reds, scoring 185 goals, and also represented England 114 times.

With those numbers, it would be hard to argue against the idea of him, when in his prime, walking into most current teams across the world. He would certainly have no trouble starting ahead of any one of Marvelous Nakamba, Douglas Luiz, or Emiliano Buendia in the centre of midfield of his current Villa team.

Thomas Frank (Brentford)

Frank barely possessed any playing career at all, not even making it out of amateur football. He briefly represented a side called Frederiksvaerk BK as a midfielder in his homeland of Denmark, but little is known about how long he played for them or how he did, and he entered coaching at the age of 34.
Brentford might be closer to the bottom of the Premier League than the top, but they're acquitting themselves perfectly well in their debut Premier League season. With that in mind, they probably don't yet have a call for their current gaffer, who looks best suited to the sidelines.

Graham Potter (Brighton)

After three midfielders, we drop back into defence as we come to Potter, who had a 13-year playing career for 11 different English sides as a left-back. His highlight was spending one season in the Premier League with Southampton in 1996/97; the same season that Ali Dia famously tricked his way onto the pitch for the Saints against Leeds, although Potter was an unused substitute in that game.
With only eight top-flight appearances to his name, Potter likely wouldn't start in his current Brighton team, certainly not ahead of former Barcelona man Marc Cucurella. However, he could very well make it onto the bench, and if Cucurella was unable to play, might find himself in a Seagulls shirt.

Sean Dyche (Burnley)

Of course Sean Dyche was a defender. It's just…a given, isn't it? The Premier League's most famous proponent of hoofball spent 18 years as a player, representing the likes of Chesterfield, Watford, Millwall, and Northampton, during which he totalled 520 appearances.

The lack of ever having played in the Premier League counts against Dyche in regards to his chances of making it into his current Burnley team, and so too does the fact that James Tarkowski and Ben Mee are two of his side's better players. If the Clarets were to get relegated, he might have more of a shot. Or get to the FA Cup semi-final. Dyche scored for Chesterfield in their classic last-four clash with Middlesbrough which the Spireites eventually lost after a replay.

Thomas Tuchel (Chelsea)

There was little to shout about in the playing arena for Tuchel, who spent only seven years as a defender in his home country of Germany. He started out with Stuttgarter Kickers, based a little under two hours from his birthplace of Krumbach, before moving to SSV Ulm, but he was forced to retire after injuring his knee cartilage.
He may have gone onto far bigger and better things than the German Regionalliga Sud had he remained healthy, but judging him on what we did see, it's fair to say he's a long way short of his current Chelsea team. The Blues' defence has been impressive so far this term, and that's down to Tuchel's tactics, not his tackles.

Patrick Vieira (Crystal Palace)

Vieira made his name as a player on the opposite side of London, enjoying a nine-year career with Arsenal and forming an integral part of the Gunners' 'Invincibles' side in 2003/04. He also represented Cannes, Inter Milan, and Manchester City, alongside playing for France 107 times.
The Eagles are quietly being built into a decent force. However, even though their best player, Connor Gallagher, occupies Vieira's position, the Frenchman would likely still keep Gallagher on the bench, and certainly have no issue getting into the side elsewhere in midfield, ahead of Cheikhou Kouyate or James McArthur.

Frank Lampard (Everton)

There is definitely a glut of former quality midfielders in Premier League managerial roles at the moment, with Lampard's appointment at Everton the latest example of that. The former Chelsea man is of course most associated with the Blues, but he also represented West Ham and Manchester City, totalling 915 club appearances, with 274 goals. He also received 106 caps for England, scoring 29 times.
Alongside Villa boss Gerrard, Lampard is frequently touted as one of the greatest midfielders ever produced in England. It is obvious to most that he would comfortably stroll into the Everton side he has inherited, displacing Richarlison, Abdoulaye Doucoure, or Allan, with ease.

Marcelo Bielsa (Leeds)

Much like Tuchel, Bielsa also did not have much to talk of in his playing days, spending just five years on the pitch as a defender for Newell's Old Boys, Instituto and Argentino de Rosario in his native Argentina. He made the transition into coaching at the very young age of 25.
It's another given that Bielsa, given his lack of any European experience, would not make it into his Leeds team, with current starters Diego Llorente and captain Liam Cooper far more suited to the heart of defence in the Premier League. El Loco has been content on the sidelines for 42 years, and his teams are all the better for it.

Brendan Rodgers (Leicester)

Rodgers is another who retired young, being forced from the professional game at the age of just 20 after a genetic knee condition intervened. He was unable to progress beyond Reading's reserves, and ceased playing altogether in 1996 after a few spells at part-time clubs.
We've been in this situation before with Tuchel - perhaps Rodgers may have gone on to impress hugely were it not for his injury - but we have to judge him on what information we do have. With that in mind, his Leicester side may have looked a little more off the boil this season, but there's no way he gets into it.

Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool)

Klopp famously switched positions through his career, being able to play either as a right-back or as a striker, which in itself demonstrates an impressive skill range. He is most associated as a player with Mainz 05, for whom he made 340 appearances, and retired as their record goalscorer, with 56.
It's a perfectly acceptable playing career, but the Liverpool team Klopp has so painstakingly constructed over the past six-and-a-half years is so good, that unfortunately for the German, he isn't getting anywhere near it. The Reds have perhaps the best forward in the world, Mo Salah, up top, while Trent Alexander-Arnold is indispensable at right-back.

Pep Guardiola (Manchester City)

There seems to be little in football that Guardiola cannot do. Currently among the very best managers in the world, he was also a superb central midfielder, making 382 appearances for Barcelona after coming through the academy, and winning six La Liga titles in addition to the 1992 European Cup.
Those numbers would likely get him into all but a handful of sides across Europe; unfortunately for him, his City side are certainly in that handful. That said, though, he was a serial winner as a player, and would fit the club's current ethos very well, so he could definitely be in contention for a spot alongside Rodri.

Ralf Rangnick (Manchester United)

On the opposite side of Manchester, interim United boss Rangnick's playing career was far more uneventful. He spent 12 years as a defensive midfielder, for a multitude of clubs in his homeland of Germany, before taking his first coaching role at the age of 25.
However poor Manchester United might be lately, and however desperate they are for a defensive midfielder, they still probably won't need to reach for Rangnick just yet. It's entirely tempting to drop Fred, who once randomly fouled his own goalkeeper, or Scott 'McSauce' McTominay, but Rangnick is a long way off.

Eddie Howe (Newcastle)

It was really quite inevitable to discover that Howe spent all but two years of a 13-year-long playing career with AFC Bournemouth. He was a defender, and made a combined 300 appearances for the Cherries over two spells, briefly departing to Portsmouth and Swindon in the interim. He's a widely-travelled chap.
Bournemouth were in the third tier for the entirety of his two stints with the club, with his two years at second-tier Pompey being the highest he ever got. That in mind, Newcastle probably have enough to avoid needing to put him in at centre back. Had he played more in the second division, things could have been more interesting.

Dean Smith (Norwich)

Another who had a largely uneventful career among the lower reaches of the English football leagues, Smith played as a centre-back and represented five different clubs over a 16-year career. His highest level came in 2002/03, when he played for Sheffield Wednesday in the First Division - now known as the Championship.
Norwich may be struggling at the wrong end of the Premier League, and could have call for someone with more second-tier experience, but given Smith made only 14 appearances at that level, he's probably just a bit far off where the Canaries would want him to be. He's another 'not quite good enough'.

Ralph Hasenhuttl (Southampton)

Hasenhuttl never quite cracked the true elite of European football, but he did have a more than acceptable career in his homeland of Austria, and neighbouring Germany. He played as a big centre-forward for the likes of Austria Wien, FC Koln, and Bayern Munich II. He also appeared eight times for the Austrian national team.
Because of those numbers, and the teams involved, it's not beyond the bounds of possibility to see him in this Southampton team. They do need goals - they've only scored 29 times in 23 games - and someone like Hasenhuttl up top, with a physical presence, could definitely aid them in that.

Antonio Conte (Tottenham)

Captaining Juventus to Champions League glory is an unbelievable achievement in its own right, but Conte achieved that and so much more in a glorious career. Playing as a midfielder, he started with hometown club Lecce, before moving on to Juve in 1991, where he remained for 13 years. He won 14 trophies with the Old Lady, including the aforementioned Champions League, plus five Serie A titles.
As one of Italy's most notable players of years gone by, Conte would have no trouble getting in his current Spurs side in the heart of midfield. Oliver Skipp has been a little more impressive this term, so if anyone is dropping out, it would be Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. Conte has mastered a fine line of being a top-level player and manager.

Roy Hodgson (Watford)

To put into context how long Hodgson has been a manager for, five current Premier League bosses were not even born when he started out at Swedish outfit Halmstads in 1976. He himself was only 29, meaning he didn't have much time for a playing career, spending a decade in and around non-league as a defender.
Those numbers do mean, plain and simple, that he wouldn't get anywhere near this Watford team. They might well have the second-worst defence in the top flight this term, but it's probably fair to say that a man who never played professionally in England's top four divisions wouldn't be parachuted into the side to solve that.

David Moyes (West Ham)

In the same frame as Hodgson, Moyes is an experienced operator in English football, but he did have a longer playing career, and at a higher level. He spent time in both England and Scotland as a centre-back, most notably for Preston North End, Dunfermline Athletic, and Shrewsbury Town.
Two or three years ago, when West Ham were really struggling at the wrong end of the table, the question of whether second-division-experienced Moyes would get in their team could have been more interesting. Now, though, he oversees a team battling for Europe, and one that would take far more than his ability to break into.

Bruno Lage (Wolves)

Lage had practically no playing career at all, participating for just three years as a winger for a pair of clubs in his homeland of Portugal called UCRD Praiense and Quintajense, and in fact had entered coaching prior to playing at any level at all, in 1997 at the age of just 21.
Not having any playing career is hardly ideal if you're trying to set your stall out as a possible Premier League player, especially for an ambitious top-half side like Wolves. It's safe to say Lage would definitely not displace either Daniel Podence or Francisco Trincao on Wolves' attacking flanks.

READ MORE: Is Burnley’s recent signing Wout Weghorst the tallest player in the Premier League?

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