Following Andre Villas-Boas’ being sacked as Tottenham Hotspur boss on Monday, many are throwing potential replacements into the hat as Spurs search for a new boss.
But what about the guy they’ve put in charge on an interim basis, Tim Sherwood?
For those we haven’t heard of him, no, he’s not got anything to do with Robin Hood or that famous forest… But he was a bloody good midfielder who led Blackburn Rovers to the Premier League title in the 1994-95 season and his traits of gritty determination, leadership and appreciation for organization has spilled over to his coaching career.
Now Sherwood has been handed the chance to show what he can do for Spurs, as he takes charge of Tottenham for their League Cup quarterfinal against West Ham on Wednesday. It is thought chairman Daniel Levy has faith in Sherwood and likes the fact that he’s not only played for Spurs but captained them and worked with the youth and reserve sides as a coach.
Remember at Barcelona when Pep Guardiola took over? He was a young coach who had previously played for Barca as a holding midfielder. Could Sherwood become Spurs’ Guardiola? It’s far too early to start that talk but everyone has to start somewhere.
If he wants the job on a permanent basis, here’s five things he can do to help himself out:
1. Get the players laughing
Spurs have had two catastrophic defeats in recent weeks, so getting his squad to have a giggle and lighten the mood will be key. It’s a tense situation as the players and Sherwood himself are in limbo. This is a chance for him to prove himself but also to gain the respect of the players. Sometimes that comes from being able to connect with them on a human basis, something AVB was criticized for not doing enough. Sherwood has been around this side for a long time as a coach, now it’s his time to lead them for how ever many games. Put on a show and smile.
2. Instill his philosophy
Having got my UEFA B coaching badge, one of the things you’re always told to remember as a coach is that your own philosophy is paramount. If you don’t know how you want your team to play, then how the hell are they going to know? Sherwood has to set out his stall accordingly and set Spurs up the way he wants. I’d hazard a guess that he’ll play two up front and play attacking soccer that he used to be the lynchpin of as a holding midfielder during Blackburn Rovers’ heyday. Spurs fans will like that.
3. Provide a clean slate
Perhaps the easiest thing Sherwood can do is push the door open for those players who’ve been on the fringes or cast aside by AVB. One such player is Emmanuel Adebayor who fell out with the previous manager but has shown everyone that he’s capable of scoring goals in the Premier League in the past. That’s something Spurs need, so Sherwood handing Adebayor an olive branch already is a smart move.
4. Be brave
As we mentioned about his philosophy, Sherwood must stick to what he knows best and be ruthless in what he wants from his side. As an interim boss he will have plenty of other coaches and even directors whispering ideas in his ear, but he has been handed the reigns so he should stay strong and trust his instincts. The interim bosses who generally do well are those that are relaxed but let the players known, ‘this is how we’re going to play.’
The most simple formula for being handed the job permanently, but obviously the most difficult of the five steps. Sherwood has the chance to take Spurs to a League Cup semifinal if they beat West Ham in a London derby, that’s a challenge he will relish and just the type of game he used to thrive in as a player. His players will be hurting after the heavy defeat to Liverpool, so expect a response. If Sherwood lasts until the Southampton game on Sunday, that’s another big game for Spurs to show what they’re made of as they make the tricky yet winnable trip down to St. Mary’s. Good luck Tim, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain…