Top 10 most promising managers in Europe this season

Published on 26 November 2023 at 16:00

European football has been ignited by a plethora of promising young managers, who are taking their leagues by storm. A host of former professional footballers are deciding to utilise their football expertise and transition into management some more successfully than others, if we take Gary Neville's horrific four month stint at Valencia for example. However, there is also a growing number of aspiring young coaches being given greater responsibility to prove themselves. Here is the ten most promising managers across the European leagues.


10. Gary O'Neil - Wolverhampton Wanderers

The former Middlesbrough player was in contention for manager of the year last season, after remarkably guiding Bournemouth to safety on his first managerial voyage. However, new American owner Bill Foley swapped the 39 year old for Spanish tactician Andoni Iraola, with the club seeking a more prestigious name to match their ambitious vision. Nevertheless, O'Neil has emphasised his quality as a manager taking the vacant Wolves job this summer, where he entered a club void of finances and plagued with a barren squad. He has transformed the atmosphere at Molineux away from the pessimistic worries of relegation to joy where the Wolves fans have been entertained by his fast-paced counter-attacking system. His most memorable managerial moment will be beating last season's quadruple winning champions Manchester City, and while Wolves started the season unconvincingly, they now have just one defeat in their last six games.

9. Michael Carrick - Middlesbrough

The 39 year old was appointed manager of Middlesbrough on October 29 last season, with the club in 21st place on the brink of the relegation zone. The club encountered a fairy-tale resurrection suffering just seven losses in 30 games and finishing fourth to reach the Play-Offs for the first time in five seasons. This summer his squad has been dissected by scavengers with Championship player of the year Chupa Akpom poached by Ajax and star duo Jacob Ramsey and Cameron Archer both returning to their parent clubs after their loans. After a turbulent start to this season, Middlesbrough have seven wins in their last 10 games and have advanced to the Quarter Finals of the EFL Cup. The former Manchester United midfielder has galvanised this club, after years of despair and instability where he has instilled optimism into the fans of a bright future ahead.


8. Mattihas Jassile - Al Ahli

The Austrian won consecutive league titles with Salzburg and guided them to their first ever knockout round in the Champions League. This summer he was targeted as the primary candidate for Al Ahli, and eventually joined the club. He is currently working with the likes of Riyad Mahrez, Frank Kessie, Roberto Firmino and Gabriel Veiga and has been given free reign to instil his philosophy into the team. Joining the Middle East has dented his reputation, where it appears he has chosen financial incentive over competition and quality. However, he is definitely someone to watch, with a return to Europe almost certainly on the cards.

7. Rubin Amorim - Sporting Lisbon

The 38 year old was a front runner for the vacant Wolves job during the summer, but instead chose to stay in Lisbon where he is building a promising reputation quickly. He has revived the rivalry between FC Porto and SL Benfica, which had deteriorated in recent seasons and looks to be on course to winning Sporting's first Primera title in three years. Since joining the Portuguese giants from Braga B, he has a 67% win rate with 105 wins from 158 matches. Amorim has been influential in the development of homegrown talent Goncalo Ignacio and has given Marcus Edwards the confidence and belief that has enabled him to thrive. 

6. Arne Slot - Feyenoord

Feyenoord won their first league title in six seasons last year with Arne Slot at the helm. His transformation of the Dutch club has been unbelievable; where he has created this dominant attacking team from scratch. His recruitment has been so selective and meticulous, such as the capture of Mexican Santiago Gimenez who has 15 goals in 14 games this season. It's no wonder Tottenham Hotspur were desperate to appoint him at the end of last season, because his tactical astuteness and man-management of players is so advanced. Feyenoord can still qualify for the knockouts of the Champions League this season if they can get results against Atletico Madrid and Celtic and his team is proving they are no one season wonders, where they are frontrunners to win the Eredivisie again.



5. Kieran McKenna - Ipswich Town

The former Manchester United youth coach is creating a name for himself at Ipswich Town. Last season he secured automatic promotion from League One, breaching 100 goals for the season and his team's form has continued in the Championship with Ipswich second in the table. No newly promoted side has more wins from their opening 16 games where they are unbeaten in 12 games. His team is reaping the benefits of McKenna's direct and risk-taking tactical approach where their positive play is creating chances; no team has scored more goals than Ipswich in the Championship this season. At only 37 years old, his future is bright Ipswich fans envisage him guiding them to back to back promotions and a return to the Premier League for the first time in 22 years. 


4. Sebastian Hoeness - Stuttgart

Stuttgart defeated Hamburg in the Bundesliga Play-Off only six months ago after a underwhelming season in which they finished 16th. Since, Hoeness arrived this summer from Hoffenheim they have been unrecognisable, winning their first five consecutive games and currently sitting third in the Bundesliga. Key players Wataru Endo, Konstantinos Mavropanos and Borna Sosa departed the club for over £40m during the summer, and yet Stuttgart have been one of the most entertaining teams to follow this season. Sehrou Guirassy scored 14 goals in 28 appearances on loan at Stuttgart last season, under Hoeness he already has 16 goals in his first 10 games. The 41 year old has a 71% win rate since arriving in April, winning 24 out of 34 games.

3. Will Still - Reims

One of the youngest manager's in world football at 31 years old, Still has burst onto the scene at Reims from nowhere. He guided the club to 10th in Ligue 1 last season, in which former on loan Arsenal striker Florian Balogun scored 21 goals. This season Reims already have six wins from their opening 12 games and are in a European place alongside Monaco and Lille. He is a very promising manager and if he can guide the club to a European place for the first in the club's history it will be a remarkable achievement. At this point, he is getting a lot of attention but he is still relatively unproven to secure a high profile job. 


2. Francesco Farioli - OGC Nice

Farioli impressed at Turkish outfit Alanyaspor finishing five points off of a European place in his debut season and then guiding the club to a Europa Conference League place last season. Nice struggled last season sacking Lucien Favre in January and finishing ninth in the league, they desperately needed a new direction and the arrival of 34 year old Farioli this summer has proved to be just that. Nice are currently second, four points behind PSG, but unbeaten in the league after seven wins and five draws. He is averaging 1.8 points per game and the absence of European football means they have a real chance at continuing their fine form and challenging PSG at the top of the table. It's still very premature in his managerial career to project just how good Farioli will be, however his start to life in France has certainly been impressive.


1. Xabi Alonso - Bayer Leverkusen

It was a risk appointing Real Sociedad B team coach Xabi Alonso, for his maiden managerial role at the club the stature of Bayer Leverkusen. The 39 year old took Leverkusen to the Semi Finals of the Europa League and his 14 game unbeaten streak propelled the club into a European place in the Bundesliga. This season, they top the table after 10 wins and one draw from their opening 11 games and they have maintained a 100% record in the Europa League with four straight wins. His unique 3-4-2-1 formation facilitates his fast-paced offensive style of play where he creates an overload down the channels and generates lots of goalscoring opportunities. He has created a young and exciting team, that has the potential to battle Bayern Munich for the league title. Real Madrid have already earmarked the former midfielder as Carlo Ancelotti's replacement.

Written by - Lewis Eadie

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