In football, traditional thinking always favors individuals with at least 20 years of football experience when it comes to taking up the managerial role. Footballing wisdom states that the more you learn the more you experience games from the touchline. However, a few managers have broken norms and found ways to become the manager of a Premier League side at a very young age. In this article, we will look at the five youngest managers in the Premier League era.
#5 Andre Villas-Boas: 33 years, 301 days (Chelsea)
Villas-Boas arrived in the PL scene after the tremendous success with Porto as he won the treble of league, domestic cup and UEFA Europa League. Chelsea paid Porto a record fee of 15 million euros to release Villas-Boas from his contract and thus expectations were high when he arrived at Stamford Bridge.
He won all the pre-season fixtures but problems on the pitch began once Premier League season started. Pressure mounted on Villas-Boas after he benched a senior player for a UCL game and he subsequently resigned before season end.
#4 Gianluca Vialli: 33 years, 227 days (Chelsea)
Vialli holds several managerial records as he was the first Italian to manage in the Premier League. He was also given the role of a player-manager in February 1998 after Ruud Gullit was sacked. he guided Chelsea to UEFA Cup winners’ Cup and League Cup titles in 1998.
Vialli was the youngest ever manager to win an UEFA competition until Andre-Villas Boas broke the record 15 years later when he won the UEFA Europa League. Vialli won the FA Cup in 2000 but was sacked early next season due to poor results.
#3 Chris Coleman: 32 years, 313 days (Fulham)
Coleman’s playing career came to a tragic end in 2001 as he suffered a leg injury due to a car crash. Two years later, he joined Tigana’s coaching staff at Fulham and eventually succeeded him as the caretaker manager. Coleman’s first season in charge was a massive success as Fulham finished in the top half of the Premier League table.
Edwin Van der Sar and Louis Saha were key players under Coleman but Fulham eventually sold them to bigger clubs. Coleman was sacked in 2007 with Fulham forced to battle for their position in the Premier League.
#2 Attilio Lombardo: 32 years, 67 days (Crystal Palace)
One of the strangest managerial appointments in PL history as Lombardo took up the role of player-manager at Crystal palace. He had played very few games for Palace but he had no choice but to accept the role as former manager Coppell was promoted as director of football. Swedish footballer Brolin acted as an interpreter since Lombardo was not fluent in English. However, Lombardo got injured at the wrong time and missed the majority of the season. Palace were relegated to the championship and they appointed a new manager Venables.
#1 Ryan Mason: 29 years, 313 days (Tottenham) –
Born and brought up in North London, Mason joined Tottenham Hotspur as a young kid and slowly progressed to the first team. He was loaned to several clubs but finally made his competitive debut for Tottenham in 2014. An unfortunate injury to his skull during a 2017 PL game against Chelsea ended his playing career.
In 2019, He was named as the coach of the U-19 side and became in charge of player development in 2020. After Mourinho’s sacking, Spurs have appointed Mason as their interim manager. However, he is definitely not a long term prospect unless the Spurs miraculously qualify for the Champions League.