The 3-2 win at Southampton on Sunday was enough to convince Tottenham Chairman Daniel Levy to give Tim Sherwood his first opportunity as a Premier League manager on a permanent basis. Sherwood, who took over after the sacking of Andre Villas Boas as an interim coach a week ago, has been appointed until the end of the 2014-15 season. Appointing such an inexperienced manager is a huge gamble for Spurs, but Sherwood seemed to be the right choice at this stage of the season.
Sherwood has played 93 Premier League games for Tottenham between 1999 and 2003 scoring 12 times. He spent the last five years working with the club’s youth teams and seemed to be the one that knew the club the most out of all the candidates. After sacking Villas Boas, many thought Tottenham would appoint an experienced manager, but Louis Van Gaal , the Holland National Team coach, was reportedly interviewed by Levy but was not chosen to succeed to Villas Boas.
Appointing an inexperienced manager surely is a big risk, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a failure. Sherwood has got even less experience than Villas Boas, but the former Spurs player brings to the table certain things that other managers don’t have. He knows the club better than anyone else and will not need time to assess his players. On Sunday, he gave his debut to 19-year-old French midfielder Nabil Bentaleb who performed very well. From his five years with the youth teams, Sherwood knew that Bentaleb was ready for the Premier League. Another manager would have probably taken more time to give a chance to the French youngster.
Also, the former Tottenham player knows what style of play Levy favors, and there is no doubt that has influenced the Spurs boss to appoint Sherwood. Villas Boas was sacked partly because of the humiliating 6-0 and 5-0 losses respectively to Manchester City and Liverpool but also because Levy didn’t like the way his team was playing. After spending over 100 million pounds in the summer transfer window the Spurs boss rightfully expected his team to play a more attacking brand of football, but Villas Boas’ team managed only 15 goals in 16 games. The way Tottenham played on Sunday at Southampton surely pleased Levy.
There is a common belief among many football fans that a manager should prove himself first with smaller clubs before being handed the destiny of a big club, but some managers have done very well at a big club despite their young age. Pep Guardiola took over at Barcelona at 37 years old after only one season with the club’s reserve team and became one of the club’s most successful managers. Sherwood’s predecessor, Villas Boas, won the Portuguese League, Cup and the Europa League with FC Porto at only 33 years old. Sherwood isn’t experienced at this level but he’s got other things to make up for his lack of experience.
Sherwood has got the daunting task of taking his new team to a top four finish which is where Spurs believe they should be after all the money they spent in the last transfer window. They are currently seventh — just four points behind fourth place — but have to compete against Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, Everton and defending champions Manchester United for a Champions League spot. If Sherwood manages to qualify his team for Europe’s most prestigious club competition, his lack of experience won’t be so much of a problem for Spurs fans.