Are you wondering what a player-manager in soccer means? Prior to the 20s where most football began operating professionally. The player-manager role was the most common role in the game.
Several top clubs such as Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, and a lot of others were known to have acquired the services of these player managers.
However, “what is a player-manager in soccer?” you might ask. And what skills are required to be a player-manager? do player managers still exist? This and a lot more questions regarding the player-manager role are what we will be answering here.
What Is A Player-Manager In Soccer?
A player-manager in soccer, also known as a player-coach or a player-manager, is a unique position in which a professional soccer player takes on dual roles. This is both as a player in the football team and also as the head coach or manager of that same team.
The role is relatively rare in modern soccer, but it was much more common in the early days of the sport. A player-manager is responsible for leading training sessions, making tactical decisions, and managing the team’s overall performance, while also playing as a member of the squad.
This can be a challenging and demanding role, requiring a high level of skill, experience, and leadership ability both on and off the pitch.
The Evolution of the Player Manager Role In Soccer History
Historically, the role of a player-manager was much more common in soccer than it is today.
In the early days of soccer, player managers were the norm, as teams often lacked the resources to hire a separate coach or manager. Thereby, they had to hire both as one person.
However, as the sport has become more professionalized, the role of the player-manager has become less common.
Skills Required for the Player Manager Role
Being a player-manager in football might arguably be one of the hardest roles in the game. And so to thrive and succeed in the role, the player must have or possess a unique number of skills.
Some of the skills required for the player-manager role are –
- A strong leadership skill
- A deep understanding of the game
- Great communication skills
- Ability to produce and maintain a high level of performance on the pitch
- Ability to balance the demands of the player role and also the manager role
- Ability to manage the team’s overall strategy and performance.
What Are The Duties Of A Player Manager?
As a player-manager, there are several duties that must be carried out by you alone. And this is based on the fact that you hold two offices. Which is basically the player’s office, as well as the manager’s office.
Here are some of the duties of the player-manager in soccer –
- A player manager is in charge of participating in the team’s success. This is done by acting both as the coach and a player.
- Leadership: another duty of the player-coach is to provide leadership to the team, both on and off the field.
- The player manager is oftentimes in charge of player recruitment. They identify the players that suit their strategy and then recruit the player into their team.
- The player manager must be able to communicate with the players and the team management or stakeholders.
- A player-coach is responsible for analyzing game footage and statistics to identify areas for improvement and make adjustments to their coaching strategy or against an opposing team.
Why Become A Player Manager?
There are a lot of reasons why one could become a player manager in soccer.
However, the most common reason why become a player manager is that the position provides the player manager with managerial experience. This is due to the fact that the player managers are mostly inexperienced and lack adequate managerial skills.
Do Player Managers Still Exist?
Yes, player managers still exist.
In 2019, after his Manchester City exit, Vincent Kompany was employed by the Belgian side, Anderlecht as a player manager.
Does Having A Player Manager In A Team Still Work?
Yes, having a player manager in a team still works. However, there could be a lot of problems arising for the player manager, which probably makes the role hard for the “player manager”.
Some of these problems are favouritism and poor ability to analyze the game while on the pitch, as they would have done on the sideline.
The player manager role should be seen by teams as more of an interim or short-term position than a long-term one and this is because the player manager himself might not be able to play for long and could also fail to combine both roles effectively.
4 Player Managers In Soccer And The Teams They Managed
1. Vincent Kompany – Anderlecht
Having left Manchester City, Vincent Kompany decided to head back to his former club, Anderlecht in the summer of 2019. Albeit, as a player manager.
He played 5 matches for the club as a player manager, losing three of them. And 90 matches as a manager where he had lost only 19 games.
2. Ryan Giggs – Manchester United
Second, on our list of player managers is Ryan Giggs. A part of the David Moyes coaching staff, Ryan Giggs became the club’s first player-manager since 1927 when he came on against Hull City.
He later went on to provide Robin Van Persie with an assist in that match.
3. Wayne Rooney – Derby County
Signed to replace Frank Lampard who had just joined Chelsea, Wayne Rooney was Derby County’s player-manager in the championship.
Wayne Rooney’s player-manager career at Derby County was not that much of a success as the team got hit by a fine, getting some of their league points deducted which later led to their relegation.
4. Kenny Dalgish – Liverpool
Considered to be the most successful Player manager in football history. He was the player-manager of Liverpool between 1985 to 1991 where he led the reds to 6 trophies including three league titles, a league cup, and two FA cups.
In conclusion, the role of player-manager in soccer is a unique and challenging position that requires a high level of skill, experience, and leadership ability.
While this role is less common in modern soccer, there are still examples of successful player managers at the professional level. Whether you are a player or a coach, understanding the role of the player-manager can help you better appreciate the complexities of this demanding and rewarding position.
Kenny is an experienced blogger and sports writer who majors in soccer articles amongst other trending niches. Do well to stay updated with his updates and that of his team of editors on Readsoccer.