Belgium and Poland are set to snub the former Premier League stars for their new boss positions on the eve of EURO 2024 qualifiers.
Two teams who had quite different results in their World Cup 2022 campaign, Belgium and Poland, are not so keen on appointing a pair of former Premier League stars to be their head coach. Thierry Henry and Steven Gerrard were reportedly linked to vacant posts in Belgium and Poland respectively. However, things might not turn out as they expected.
The former Arsenal front man has worked for Belgium in two stints as an assistant to Roberto Martinez. He has even gained support from two senior players in Romelu Lukaku and Toby Alderweireld to be promoted. Yet, the Belgium Football Federation do not appear to see eye-to-eye with them.
The same situation seems to be happening to Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard. He reportedly received an offer from Poland Football Federation to take charge for the upcoming EURO 2024 qualifiers. Unfortunately, they seem to be on the verge of naming another candidate instead. Find out who Belgium and Poland are targeting to be their next boss.
Belgium and Poland Pick Experienced Figures over Ex-EPL Stars
The Red Devils might have worked together with Henry but apparently it does not help the former French forward’s chance to get his promotion he wants. Despite being endorsed by Lukaku and Alderweireld, he is likely to be snubbed by the Belgian FA. They are setting their eyes on two experienced candidates.
The first one is Saudi Arabian boss Herve Renard. Although he is bound to the long term contract with The Green Falcon until 2025, Renard could still leave the post. He guided his team to a historic 2-1 victory over Argentina in their opener of Qatar 2022. Sadly, Saudi Arabia failed to replicate their stunning form in the next two games.
Renard has been highly recommended due to his experience with national teams. He has led six nations, including Ivory Coast, Morocco and Zambia, in two spells before being named as Saudi boss. He even won the African Cup of Nations twice with Zambia (2012) and Ivory Coast (2015) before bringing Morocco back to the World Cup finals in Russia 2018, their first one since 1998.
The second one on Belgium’s list is their former goalkeeper, Michael Preud’Homme. He has yet to add national teams in his CV. However, his managerial career deserves attention with several notable silverware.
The Best Goalkeeper in World Cup 1994 has won two domestic league titles for Standard Liege and Club Brugge each in 2008 and 2016. He also guided dark horse sides Gent and Twente to second spot in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Preud’Homme also clinched a domestic cup title with all of the clubs mentioned except for Standard.
Poland’s exit at the second round in Qatar was not exactly disappointing. It is their first progression to the knockout rounds of a World Cup since Mexico 1986. Nevertheless, it did not stop Czeslaw Michniewicz from stepping down.
At first, Steven Gerrard was considered as one of the candidates. The former Aston Villa and Glasgow Rangers boss was tipped to lead Poland in EURO 2024 qualifying round next March. However, his lack of experience with national teams seemed to get in his way. Poland Football Federation is reportedly ready to name their favorite with more international experience, Paulo Bento.
Bento has just left the post after leading South Korea to the round of 16 in Qatar. He managed to help Son Heung-Min and Co to beat Portugal in the final game of the group stage to seal one spot at the knockout stage.
Previously, he was at the helm of Portugal in EURO 2012, where they reached the semifinals, and World Cup 2014. The former defensive midfielder also had several brief spells in Brazil with Cruzeiro, in Greece with Olympiacos and Chinese Super League side, Chongqing Lifan. Bento’s most successful stint was in Sporting Lisbon. He won four domestic titles, including two Portuguese Cups, from 2005 to 2009.
Belgium and Poland are hoping to appoint their new manager soon. They are bound to play their first official games in two months’ time. Both start their EURO 2024 qualifying campaign on the road. The Belgians will take on Sweden while Orly faces off Czech Repbulic on March 24.