Who are the managers who got on the coaching ladder at ridiculously young ages?

Management usually starts in the mid-30s but some are well ahead of schedule and we look at three examples

BY Raf Diallo 16:00 Wednesday 25 May 2016, 16:00 25 May 2016

Hoffenheim head coach Julian Nagelsmann smiles prior to a German Bundesliga soccer match between TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and VfL Wolfsburg in Sinsheim, Germany, Saturday, March 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

On this week's Team 33, we were joined by journalist and football coach Jamie Moore to talk about how he has managed to get as far as completing his UEFA A Coaching Licence by his mid-20s.

The A Licence is the final step before the UEFA Pro Licence which gives aspiring managers the right to coach in the Premier League and other major leagues around Europe.

Some footballers start studying for their badges in their 20s with a view to potentially going into management once their playing careers finish in their mid-to-late 30s.

But there are a crop of managers, some of whom took their badges at a very young age and thus got into the coaching world before they hit the age of 30.

Julian Nagelsmann 

The former 1860 Munich footballer is already a manager in the Bundesliga at the age of just 28.

After his playing career was cruelly ended due to knee injuries when he was barely out of his teens.

As a result, Nagelsmann had to re-evaluate his career path and it eventually led him onto the coaching pyramid.

At the age of just 21, he became an assistant youth coach at Augsburg, where current Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel was a reserve team manager, who took him under his wing and tasked him with an opposition scouting role. It probably helped that Tuchel also started on the coaching route in his 20s after knee issues ended his own career.

After a spell coaching in the 1860 Munich underage ranks, Nagelsmann would then end up at Bundesliga side Hoffenheim where he would first start off in the under-17s before progressing to the under-19s head coach, leading the team to the Germany under-19 title in 2013-14 with a 5-0 victory over Hannover 96 in the final.

His work at that level did not go unnoticed and when Hoffenheim manager Huub Stevens was due to step down at the end of the season, Nagelsmann was the designated successor.

However, that timescale was brought forward due to Stevens' health problems and Nagelsmann took over in February and helped Hoffenheim avoid relegation.

As German football writer Uli Hesse told Off The Ball last month as the young coach took to elite management like a duck to water: "Everything about it is stunning. He did well in youth football, but it's not as if everybody knew his name. When the club announced that Huub Stevens would only coach the team until the end of the season and then Julian Nagelsmann would take over, 95% of people went: Julian who - and why?" 

AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe during the Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Picture by: Martin Rickett / PA Wire/Press Association Images

 Eddie Howe

The Bournemouth manager is one of the bright, young managers in English football and is still young at 38.

But he is long in the tooth when it comes to the coaching game.

Like Nagelsmann, injuries forced his hand to retire in his late 20s and at the age of 29 when he was still playing, Howe was tasked with player-coach duties at Bournemouth in December 2006.

He returned in 2008 as a caretaker manager before leading Bournemouth away from certain relegation from the Football League and keeping the job full-time.

Seven years on and Howe is still with the same club - he did manage Burnley for a time -  and after leading the Cherries to promotion from the third tier, he later followed that up with promotion to the Premier League where he has managed to keep them up at the first time of asking.

Similarly, new Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers also got on the coaching ladder early, taking on a youth coach position at Jose Mourinho's Chelsea at the dawn of his 30s, after knee injuries ended his own playing career very early on.

 Andre Villas-Boas

Technically, the former Chelsea and Tottenham boss did not become a manager until after he turned 30 (he was only 31). But he already had his UEFA A Licence by the time he was 19.

With no playing career of note to speak of, the outgoing Zenit St Petersburg manager happened to live in the same apartment block that housed the late Bobby Robson who was then managing Villas-Boas' hometown club FC Porto.

After sending a letter to the former England, Ipswich, Barcelona and Newcastle managerial legend, Robson was impressed and eventually gave the youngster a role in the youth ranks and got him started on the road to obtaining his coaching badges. 

He then went to work under another Robson protege in the form of Jose Mourinho at Porto, before dipping his toes in management by taking over at Academica Coimbra in 2009.

His performances there led Porto to appoint him manager in 2010 and in just one season, he led his hometown club to a league, cup and Europa League treble.

That caught the eye of Roman Abramovich at Chelsea and while his time at Stamford Bridge and then Tottenham did not quite match his past achievements, he did manage to win the Russian Premier League at Zenit last season.

The Portuguese coach is still just 38, so there is time enough for him to bounce back and make up for what happened in the English Premier League.

The interview with Jamie Moore is right here:


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