For players and managers alike, the Premier League is arguably the most challenging football league in the world. The league has attracted some of the world’s best players over the years and in the process, it has managed to create a unique and competitive sporting brand.
With some of Europe’s best talents playing in the Premier League, it is only natural that the league has secured the services of the most high-profile football managers in the game at the moment. While the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have laid the foundation for the modern game we see in England today, the Premier League has cultivated a new generation of ingenious maestros who share their own intriguing rivalries.
I believe that management is one of the hardest jobs in football, and I particularly sympathize with the Premier League’s managers. There are simply not enough hours in a day for them to implement their ideas. Football managers rely heavily on their players for their success and are also tasked with the unenviable role of keeping them happy.
In a competition as intense as the Premier League, it isn’t easy to definitively pick one manager over another. Nevertheless, here is my take on the five best managers currently plying their trade in the Premier League.
#5 Dean Smith | Aston Villa
While David Moyes and Ralph Hasenhuttl did excellent work with their clubs last season, I’d have to give number five on this list to Dean Smith. Given the team he’s built and the way Aston Villa have played under him, Dean Smith thoroughly deserves to be on this list.
A few years ago, you’d always look at Aston Villa as a team that would come up to the Premier League and then struggle to keep pace with the competition. Under Dean Smith, Aston Villa have now become a safe mid-table club and have what it takes to give the big boys a fair share of problems. They did, after all, put seven past Liverpool last season.
Smith has learned a lot from his stints at Walsall and Brentford and has now made Aston Villa an entertaining outfit. You always want managers to improve the players they work with, and Dean Smith has worked wonders with his group at Aston Villa. Tyrone Mings, Ezri Konsa, John McGinn, and Jack Grealish have flourished under Smith’s tutelage and if he sells them now, Aston Villa could make a lot of money in the transfer market.
Dean Smith started off with very little at Aston Villa, but he brought players into the club and improved them. Both Mings and Konsa could start for the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool but have chosen to place their faith in Dean Smith’s Aston Villa project. That is one of the best indicators of Dean Smith’s brilliance as a Premier League manager.
#4 Brendan Rodgers | Leicester City
I have a massive amount of respect for Brendan Rodgers – he could have easily made it into the top three in this list. Rodgers masterminded Leicester City’s FA Cup victory earlier this year and was terribly unlucky to miss out on a top-four finish in two consecutive Premier League seasons.
Brendan Rodgers is also an excellent mentor and always has a positive impact on his squad. Rodgers improves every player he works with, and I personally don’t know of a single player who’s become a lesser player after leaving his Leicester City side. Rodgers has – believe it or not – even managed to make Jamie Vardy a better player. James Maddison has also fulfilled his potential after joining the club from Norwich City.
I distinctly remember a specific incident during Rodgers’ time at Swansea City that highlights his unwavering faith in his squad. Swansea passed the ball around in trademark fashion when a seemingly harmless pass slipped through the keeper’s legs and found the back of the net. It was not a particularly proud moment for the team, but Rodgers continued clapping for his players and cheered them back into their rhythm. That’s Brendan Rodgers for you – he never changes his style and he gets results.