Sherwood can be special

Sherwood can be special

There is something about Tim Sherwood which should make true football fans hope Tottenham finish in the Premier League top four this season.

It is the way he calmly insisted in the aftermath of Andre Villas-Boas' departure that he would not be anyone's assistant at White Hart Lane.

That Sherwood was interested in the top job only on his terms.

It is the confident and personable manner in which he has conducted himself in press interviews.

It is the way, in little more than a fortnight, he has given the Tottenham faithful hope and optimism where there had been an encroaching feeling of despair.

Mostly, it is the refreshing way the new Tottenham manager views football.

"We've all played in the street and sometimes I think we need to take it back to that," Sherwood said after his Tottenham team had beaten Manchester United 2-1 at Old Trafford on Wednesday with a performance full of dogged determination and counter-attacking enterprise.

"Sometimes football is too regimented."

Now that may be naive, fanciful, "Roy of the Rovers" stuff from the man who lifted the Premier League title as captain of Blackburn in 1995.

And there will be those who believe his gung-ho philosophy will be found out sooner rather than later in a league which has seen six managers lose their jobs already this season.

But all those who believe daring is preferable to caution and that there are young English coaches who can compete with foreign counterparts will want Sherwood to succeed.

There is no great secret to Sherwood's impressive start, 10 points from a possible 12, as Tottenham manager.

He has simply allowed quality players to express that quality.

That simple objective should be the first art of management and it would be if so many coaches were not obsessed with systems and formations and white-board analysis.

Managing is about utilising all your most valuable assets and you can hardly do that if, as under Villas-Boas, players such as Emmanuel Adebayor are left to train with the development squad.


Management, especially in these days of mega-money and player-power, is about compromise.

It is about massaging egos on occasion, not ripping the rug from under your own feet by ostracising potentially your most potent striker.

It is no surprise that Adebayor has scored four goals in five matches since being recalled by Sherwood, his header against United, in particular, demonstrating his sublime talent.

Players, regardless of their pay packets, need to feel wanted and Sherwood learned the art of man-management from the master in two years under Harry Redknapp.

There is also the little matter of playing to your strengths, something Villas-Boas failed to recognise when he dressed a club with a culture for attacking, eye-pleasing, passing football in a cloak of defensive sterility.

Sherwood, an imaginative midfield creator in his playing days, is steeped in the Tottenham tradition, something chairman Daniel Levy recognised when he handed the managerial rookie an 18-month contract.

Of course, it is too early to say whether Levy's faith is well placed, but English football, with no obvious replacements for 66-year-old England boss Roy Hodgson, is desperate for more top-flight English managers. Of that there is no doubt.

Right now, the Premier League has four English managers - Newcastle's Alan Pardew, Hull's Steve Bruce, West Ham's Sam Allardyce and Sherwood.

It is not a deep well. That is why, for England's sake, a successful Tottenham would be no bad thing.

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