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Jose Mourinho, Zinedine Zidane, Antonio Conte And FIVE Other Managers The Sportsman Wants To See Back In The Dugout

Two former Chelsea gaffers feature in our longed-for list
Two former Chelsea gaffers feature in our longed-for list

Players aren’t the most important people in football, managers are. It’s as simple as that.

Gaffers come in all shapes and sizes; from the triumphant to the turgid, the boisterous to the bewildering, and the class to the clueless.

Below we pluck out EIGHT out-of-work managers that we desperately want to see return to management at some point in the near future.

Don’t worry, you’ll be pleased to hear that we’ve not included the trio of Sam Allardyce, Mark Hughes, and Alan Pardew in this managerial octagon, unfortunately Arsene Wenger has also missed the cut, but that’s mainly because a director of football appears to be his next port of call.

Right, let's go.

Jose Mourinho

Love him or hate him, Jose Mourinho will be back in football soon. After all, he’s never away from the dugout for too long.

When the ‘Special One’ first left Chelsea in September 2007, he ventured off to Italy the following summer. He managed Inter Milan, Real Madrid, and the Blues without pause for breath, then when he departed the Bridge for the second time in December 2015, he took up the Man Utd job six months later.

This week Mourinho revealed that he’s set to return to football as a TV pundit, but it would surprise no one if he catapulted into the dugout in the summer. His next position is likely to come outside of the Premier League, although the likes of Chelsea (cough), Everton, and Leicester could soon be on the lookout for a new gaffer.

However, we don’t want the miserable Mourinho, but the loveable rogue that charmed us upon his first arrival in England.

Antonio Conte

It looks like Antonio Conte looks has decided to take a sabbatical, a cooling off period that is becoming increasingly popular amongst the managerial elite. Pep Guardiola took started the trend after four trophy-drenched years at Barcelona, Luis Enrique followed suit, while Arsene Wenger also appears to be biding his time as he assesses his options.

In 2016/17 Conte became the fourth manager to win the Premier League in his first season with a then-record 30 wins from 38 games. The Italian followed this up with FA Cup success last season, but after a patch of real confusion he was (eventually) relieved of his duties, and despite being linked with Man Utd, Real Madrid, and Inter Milan, he’s yet to be lured back.

Expect a summer comeback.

Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane hoisted three Champions League trophies at the helm of his beloved Real Madrid. To put that staggering achievement into perspective, only two other managers - Bob Paisley and Carlo Ancelotti - have ever amassed three European Cups in the history of the beautiful game.

Sadly Zidane’s always going to have his critics, given both the stature of Real and the calibre of players he had at his disposal. However, we’re sure he won’t be too bothered at that minority of doubters, although it would be fantastic to see the Frenchman have a crack at managing in another elite league, perhaps the Premier League with Chelsea?

Phillip Cocu

Phillip Cocu won back-to-back Eredivisie titles in 2015 and 2016, and three in total with Feyenoord, while he was an assistant to Bert van Marwijk during Holland’s charge through to the 2010 World Cup final.

It didn’t work out at Fenerbache earlier this season, where he won just three of his 15 matches, but the 48-year-old Dutchman still has a promising managerial career ahead of him, and just this week saw his odds cut to just 6/1 to replace the under-fire Marco Silva at Everton.

Paolo Di Canio

A surprise addition in this eight-strong list given that the fiery Italian has been AWOL for over five years, ever since his spell at Sunderland grounded to an abrupt halt in the preliminary stages of the 2013/14 season.

Di Canio enjoyed success with Swindon, with whom he led up to League One as well as final of the Football League Trophy, before going on to save Sunderland from the dreaded drop at the close of the 2012/13 campaign.

If he’s not kicking his own players or knee-sliding in front of supporters, he’s giving volcanic yet compelling interviews. What a character. It’s been too long Paolo, come back now, pretty please.

Jorge Jesus

Jorge Jesus caused an absolute uproar in his native Portugal when he switched Benfica for fierce Lison rivals Sporting in 2015.

He’d spent six successful years with the former, winning three league titles and a catalogue of other honours, but was unable to lead the Lions to glory despite a record-breaking points total in his first season. His third and final term ended in turmoil after masked supporters attacked Jesus and his players at the training centre.

Jesus is incredibly outspoken, vociferous even, and fans of English football may remember his touchline dispute with Tim Sherwood during a Europa Cup clash. “I thought his team were very good and showed a lot of class, it’s just a shame he didn’t,” said Sherwood at the time.

The 64-year-old has since managed Saudi side Al-Hilal, with whom he left two weeks ago, and has expressed his desire to return to Portuguese football.

Gary Neville

Gary Neville’s days as a manager could well be over, but that doesn’t stop us from demanding he returns to swat away the critics and prove he can cut it in the dugout.

Yes, he continues to excel as a pundit and commentator and is unlikely to fancy a managerial return anytime soon, however, he’s a determined man, and should a tempting opportunity arise he could be lured back for a second stab.

Tim Sherwood

For the banter.

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