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5 players who played under managers who were younger than them

Andre Vilas Boas
With Andre Villas-Boas taking up management at a very young age, he had to deal with a number of players who were older than him
 
Anjan Majee

Football managers, all over the world, are conventionally old and proven. They literally are the pathfinder of the team looking for glory. They bring in a wealth of experience to nurture the squad and dish out motivational talks to lead the team forward while helping them out during the crisis.

However, there are few instances when the club hierarchy chose to go ahead with managers who are young and dynamic. While the theory behind success demands the managers to adapt to the progressive change as fast as possible, younger ones have lived up to the expectation quite well.

In the process, they have come across professional players who were older and managing them efficiently needed something special to avoid unrest. There are players who play till late 30’s and 40’s and for them, these issues are nothing new. Here are five such players who at some point in their career played under a younger manager.

#1 Eugen Polanski (17th Mar, 1986)/Julian Nagelsmann (23rd Jul, 1987)

Eugen Polanski and Julian Nagelsmann

When TSG 1899 Hoffenheim appointed Julian Nagelsmann as their head coach early this year, he became the youngest ever manager in the history of Bundesliga. In the process, Polish international Eugen Polanski found himself a boss who is a year younger than him. The defensive midfielder is a part of the club since 2013 and features regularly for the club.

Julian Nagelsmann briefly worked under current Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel at Augsburg. Since 2010 he has been the assistant of Hoffenheim youth teams under various age category until he was given the responsibility of the senior team on 10th February 2016.

Polanski started his career at Borussia Monchengladbach and had spells with Getafe and Mainz before joining Hoffenheim. In the international circuit, he has represented Germany at U21 level and has also captained the side at times. However, in 2011, later in his career he played for the Poland nation team.

#2 William Gallas (17th Aug, 1977)/Andre Villas-Boas (17th Oct, 1977)

Andre Villas Boas William Gallas.jpg
Andre Villas-Boas brought William Gallas over from arch-rivals Arsenal

The versatile Frenchman just makes it to the list. He played a season under Andre Villas-Boas at Tottenham Hotspur in 2012-13. Both at 35, William Gallas was just two months elder than his manager Villas-Boas, when the two worked together.

The ex-Chelsea and Arsenal star concluded his Premier League stay at Tottenham Hotspurs. Having spent four defining seasons at Arsenal, the player demanded a contract that was simply not entertained. The move saw Gallas becoming the first man to play for all the three London based clubs. He was 33 by the time he arrived at White Hart Lane.

In 2012-13, after playing 2 years for the Lily Whites, Gallas saw Tottenham appoint Andre Villas-Boas as the head coach in a three-year deal to replace Harry Redknapp. The defender made 17 appearances for the club under the Portuguese before he was released at the end of the 2012-13 campaign.

#3 Brad Friedel (18th May, 1971)/ Andre Villas-Boas (17th Oct, 1977)

Villas Boas Friedel Tottenham
Brad Friedel and Andre Villas-Boas

Brad Friedel is another player that adds up to this elite list courtesy of Andre Villas-Boas and Tottenham Hotspurs. For a player who retired at the age of 43, it is highly likely that he will be playing under a younger manager at some point in his career. Prior to joining The Spurs in 2011, the goalkeeper played for Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers, and Aston Villa.

Just a year later in 2012, Andre Villas-Boas was in charge of the squad and the manager had full faith in Brad as he remained AVB’s first choice stopper. However, at the fag end of his career, he became 2nd fiddle to French Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris at White Hart Lane.

His 21-year playing career came to an end when he retired at the end of 2014-15 season. He has cemented his place as a Premier League legend with a career that spanned over three decades. The United States of America international holds the record of featuring in 310 consecutive games in the EPL.

#4 Jens Lehmann (10th Nov, 1969)/ Markus Babbel (8th Sep, 1972)

Jens Lehmann and Markus Babbel

Once more, we have a goalkeeper featuring in the list. The German international had a long illustrated career before calling it a day at the end of 2010-11 season. At 38, he played under the managership of 35-year old Markus Babbel when the later was in charge of Bundesliga side VFB Stuttgart during the 2008-09 season. The duo led the side to a remarkable 3rd place in the table, finishing just behind VfL Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich.

Lehmann also had spells with Schalke 04, A.C.Milan, Borussia Dortmund before he joined Arsenal in 2003. However, he is most notably remembered for his stint with Arsenal and was part of the invincible Arsenal squad and played every match for the Gunners. He was twice awarded the UEFA Club Goalkeeper of the Year in 1996–97 and 2005–06. Having been in the shadow of Oliver Kahn, he finally became Germany’s No. 1 goalkeeper under Jurgen Klinsmann for the World Cup in 2006.

#5 Stanley Matthews (1st Feb, 1915 - 23rd Feb, 2000)/ Tony Waddington (9th Nov, 1924 - 21st Jan, 1994).

Stanley Mathews Tony Waddington
Stanley Mathews played for Stoke City till he was 50

In his long decorated career, Stanley Matthews had young Tony Waddington as his manager on his return to Stoke city at the twilight of his career. He is still regarded as one of the best players to have graced English football. He was the first player to be crowded the European footballer of the Year award and played till he was 50. He was knighted while he was still a professional player.

He spent 19 years at Stoke city stretching over 2 spells, 1932-47 and 1961-65, and appearing for Blackpool in between, scoring a total of 71 goals in 697 games. In 1961, Waddington was interested in bringing the player back from Blackpool and Mathews found himself playing for Stoke again with his wage getting almost doubled.

Edited by Staff Editor

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