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How England's golden generation have fared as managers & coaches

Jamie Spencer
Jan 16, 2021, 6:30 PM GMT
Wayne Rooney has retired and become Derby manager
Wayne Rooney has retired and become Derby manager | George Wood/Getty Images
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Wayne Rooney is the last member of England’s golden generation to hang up his boots and retire.

The 35-year-old was been appointed manager of Derby County on a permanent full-time basis, having already been taking charge as an interim boss since November.

Many of his former Three Liones colleagues from the mid-2000s have already gone into management and coaching, although some have been more successful than others. However, plenty of the rest have opted to sidestep coaching altogether and have forged successful second careers in the media as pundits or presenters.

Here’s a closer look at what various members of the golden generation are up to now and how those who have gone into management have fared.

The Managers

Steven Gerrard will win a Scottish title with Rangers this season
Steven Gerrard will win a Scottish title with Rangers this season | Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Of all the golden generation, Steven Gerrard has done the best job in management. Frank Lampard might beg to differ...although few would probably agree with him.

Gerrard began coaching in the Liverpool youth ranks when he retired and was appointed Rangers boss in the summer of 2018. The Glasgow giants have improved massively since he took over and will almost certainly end 2020/21 with their first title since forced relegation in 2012.

Lampard is undoubtedly managing at a higher level, but he is struggling to keep his head above water in his second year in charge of Chelsea. The retired midfielder had a free pass in his first year, but a spend in excess of £200m shouldn’t result in a team regressing.

Lampard began his managerial career with a year at Derby in which he fell short of his sole objective, which was to achieve promotion to the Premier League.

Frank Lampard is under pressure at Chelsea
Frank Lampard is under pressure at Chelsea | Marc Atkins/Getty Images

After his attempt at a political career failed to get off the ground, Sol Campbell first became an assistant coach with the Trinidad & Tobago national team, before being appointed at Macclesfield Town in 2018, who were five points adrift of safety in League Two at the time.

Campbell kept the club in the EFL, but he left when they couldn’t afford to offer him a new contract. He then had a difficult spell at Southend, who ended up relegated from League One.

Gary Neville would rather forget he was ever a manager. The ex-Manchester United defender left a comfortable media job in 2015 to take charge of Valencia, owned by Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim, with whom Neville was already a co-investor at Salford City.

Previously England assistant manager, Neville was sacked after three months after only one La Liga win in 16 games and no clean sheets. He returned to punditry and will probably stay there.

Gary Neville had a disastrous spell at Valencia
Gary Neville had a disastrous spell at Valencia | Fotopress/Getty Images

Phil Neville has also dabbled in management. He started out as a member of David Moyes’ backroom staff at former club Manchester United, then was briefly a caretaker at Salford, the club he co-owns with his brother and friends, before landing the job as England Women manager.

Neville is now primed to take over at Inter Miami, part-owned by close friend David Beckham.

Rather like Gary Neville, Paul Scholes has proven to be better suited to punditry than management in his retirement. He has twice been caretaker boss of Salford and was appointed Oldham manager in 2019, but lasted just a month in the job.

Jonathan Woodgate isn’t always considered part of the golden generation because injuries ravaged his career when he should have been in contention for tournaments in the mid-2000s. His sole season in management resulted in Middlesbrough almost getting relegated from the Championship.

The Coaches

John  Terry is assistant manager at Aston Villa
John Terry is assistant manager at Aston Villa | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Former England and Chelsea captain John Terry moved straight into coaching when he hung up his boots at Aston Villa in 2018 and has been the club’s assistant manager ever since.

Nicky Butt became involved in coaching and player development at Manchester United almost as soon as he retired in 2011. He was appointed head of the club’s academy in 2016 and was promoted to head of first-team development in 2019.

Ashley Cole finished his playing career with Derby County in 2019, but stayed on as part of Frank Lampard’s coaching staff. He has since followed Lampard back to former club Chelsea.

Ashley Cole has coached at Derby & Chelsea
Ashley Cole has coached at Derby & Chelsea | Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

Namesake Joe Cole was also coaching at Chelsea, working within the youth setup. He quit that job in order to broaden his football horizons around the world shortly before the planet fell into the grips of coronavirus and so his coaching career has been on hold.

Ledley King moved from an ambassadorial role into a coaching role at Tottenham in August 2020.

Michael Carrick has been a first-team coach at Manchester United since retiring in 2018 and has worked under both Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford.

The Media Personalities

Jamie Carragher is a main voice on Sky Sports
Jamie Carragher is a main voice on Sky Sports | Pool/Getty Images

Jamie Carragher has never been tempted to pursue a career in management and has instead established a reputation as one of the game’s top pundits. The fortunes of Sky Sports colleague Gary Neville will likely put him off ever risking that.

Rio Ferdinand once flirted with the idea of a second career as a professional boxer, but he hung his gloves without a single fight. He has been a mainstay of BT Sport’s punditry team since 2015.

Owen Hargreaves is another regular on the BT Sport panel, while Michael Owen also works on the network’s game coverage from time to time.

Peter Crouch hasn’t gone down the traditional punditry route and has instead combined football and sport with entertainment. His BBC podcast has been a huge hit, while he later fronted a BBC TV show called Peter Crouch: Save Our Summer in 2020.

Jermaine Jenas has also diversified his television career. Aside from a punditry gig on BBC’s Match of the Day, he has additionally become a co-host on daily magazine programme The One Show.

The Owner

David Beckham is president of his own football club
David Beckham is president of his own football club | Michael Reaves/Getty Images

David Beckham was England captain during the golden generation era, but he has never gone down either of the post-playing career routes into coaching or television work.

Instead, Beckham has dedicated a lot of his retirement to charity work all over the world, as well as building his own MLS club, Inter Miami, from the ground up.

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

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