The uncertainty over Tim Sherwood’s long-term future as Tottenham Hotspur manager has resulted in many names are being linked with Spurs. Could Paul Lambert be a possible contender for the position at White Hart Lane?
The names being connected with Tottenham should the manager’s position become vacant in the summer have been experienced managers who have managed around Europe but have never worked in the Premier League.
Yesterday, I suggested a highly experienced European manager who might be considered for any possible vacancy at White Hart Lane. Today, I put forward the name of manager who has learned his trade in English football.
There are few British managers in the Premier League and even fewer who would be in contention to take over at White Hart Lane. Tim Sherwood stepped up to the manager’s seat without any experience in management and that inexperience has been evident as he has struggled in past weeks to get the best from the Spurs team.
One possible manager in the Premier League who knows what is required in English football and has enjoyed success in the lower divisions as part of his apprenticeship, is Paul Lambert, the manager of Aston Villa.Paul Lambert
Paul Lambert was a Scottish international as a player at St. Mirren, Motherwell, Borussia Dortmund and Celtic. His first steps in management were with Livingston where he finished his playing career and then Wycombe Wanderers and Colchester United. After starting the 2009–10 season with an opening day 7–1 win for Colchester over Norwich, he immediately took charge at Carrow Road.
Lambert had an outstanding record at Norwich City winning promotion from League One to the Premier League in successive seasons. Norwich then had a very successful first season back in the top flight. They finished 12th and played very attractive football in season 2011-12.
At the end of that initial season, Lambert was attracted to Aston Villa where he had a very tough introduction to Villa Park. With limited funds for new players he was forced to rely on younger players who found it difficult at Premier League level, suffering the embarrassment of an 8 – 0 defeat at Chelsea, followed by a four goal home defeat by Spurs a few days later. From a position where Villa were looking certainties for relegation they reorganised and retained their Premier League place with a 15th place finish.
Speaking after the final match in May, 2013, Lambert reflected on the season, saying in an interview with BBC Sport,
It’s been a hard season but I’ve loved it. It’s a huge pressure and we are in transition at the moment. The last four or five months we have been terrific which bodes well for the future. It’s an exciting time and you can see the crowd are right behind us.
This season, Villa are in mid-table but with Lambert’s motivational and tactical skill have the best record of any team against the top-4 teams. They started the season with a win at the Emirates and have home wins over Chelsea and Manchester City and also took a point at Anfield. The record would be even better had they been awarded a late penalty at Stamford Bridge at the start of the season.
Lambert is a passionate manager and is not afraid to argue the case for his team while retaining the respect of his opposite number. He demands total commitment from his players but can also be very persuasive as Tottenham discovered last summer. Lambert ensured that Christian Benteke remained at Villa Park when it looked as if the Belgian striker was set for a move to White Hart Lane.
At Villa Park he has had confrontational moments with players who have been isolated because they haven’t fitted into his plans. His decisions appear to have been the right option as he remains in post while the players have moved on. He has also been able to manage on a limited transfer budget while bringing on young players who have progressed through the Villa Academy. These are qualities which might be attractive as far as Daniel Levy is concerned.
Currently, Villa are in 13th position but a home defeat by Fulham doesn’t look good on his CV. The final match of the season at White Hart Lane will bring Lambert into opposition with Tim Sherwood. Could that be Lambert’s late audition for the manager’s position at Tottenham?