The football management sphere is notoriously cut-throat and ever-evolving. A string of bad results frequently leads to unemployment and, once the P45 has been pocketed, the battle becomes about fending off the tractor beams intent on drawing all they can aboard the Alan Curbishley-skippered Ship of the Forgotten.
In the Premier League, though, there are plenty of young coaches making survival in this hostile environment look simple. Here are three who appear destined to land an important role in the game when they elect to vacate their current posts.
Steve Clarke guided West Brom to eighth in his first full season in charge
West Brom’s trusting of the formerly untried Scot to take the step up from reliable first-mate to captain prompted many to arch an eyebrow or two, but he has performed more than admirably in the driver’s seat.
This season the Baggies are unbeaten in all three of their games with members of last term’s top four.
His ability to flourish with a wafer-thin transfer budget deserves special plaudits, while he’s demonstrated exceptional man management skills on more than one occasion, most notably during Peter Odemwingie’s madcap attempts to engineer a move away from the club.
Albion are 2/1 to land a top-half finish this term with bwin.
Mauricio Pochettino sits in an inexplicably high third place in the Premier League
Much-maligned when he was awarded the Southampton job following the seemingly unjust sacking of Nigel Adkins last season, the Argentinean’s impact at St Mary’s has been incredible.
High pressing and ball-retention is not something a club of the Saints’ stature would typically employ, but it’s to this they owe the paltry total of five league goals conceded, while the recent England recognition awarded to three of his attacking players shows his tactics are not geared up to solely shield their goal.
Experience in Spain and England can only be considered a good thing and should the south coast side deliver on the 14/1 that says they finish in the top four this season, Pochettino will surely be snapped up by a big gun in the short term.
Michael Laudrup has already been touted for several high-profile posts
Swansea’s results haven’t been as impressive this season as last, but the Dane’s exploits in 2012/13 saw his name mentioned in relation to managerial vacancies at Real Madrid and Paris St-Germain.
Flowing football is something that will endear him to all the big guns, but arguably Laudrup’s most marketable asset is his ability to acquire gems at a pittance and extract the best from them.
League form must improve this season if he’s going to land a sought-after post, but the potential for a successful career is there.
Bwin have the Swans ranked as 17/1 shots to be crowned kings of the Europa League this campaign.