By Toby Prince
The English Premier League is gradually sliding into an era dominated predominately by young, energetic and charismatic managers, a departure from days of grey-headed and uninteresting gaffers.
In 2004, the league was taken by storm when a certain young and vibrant Portuguese manager took over the helm of affairs at Chelsea. Aged 41, Jose Mourinho carved a niche for himself by winning the league back-to-back in 2005 and 2006, a legacy many young managers still try to emulate.
Current Wales boss, Chris Coleman, at 33 remains the youngest manager to coach in the English top flight with Fulham between 2003 and 2007.
Here are the five youngest tacticians presently marking a mark in the English Premier League.
- Alex Neil (34 years old)
One could mistake Alex Neil for a player who might be approaching the twilight of his career. He began his career with Scottish side Hamilton Academical on a permanent basis in May 2013 after getting an interim appointment in April 2013. He led the side to 2014/15 Scottish Premiership.
He joined the Canaries on January 2015, and led them to 17 wins in 25 games as they finished third in the Championship to enter the playoffs. They beat Ipswich over two legs before beating Middlesbrough in the playoff final, returning to the Premier League after an absence of a single season.
Neil has managed four points thus far with Norwich City this season- recording a shocking 3-1 victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light in the process.
- Gary Monk (36 years old)
Like Eddie Howe who is at number 3, Monk spent most of his playing career with Swansea. He was appointed following the sacking of Michael Laudrup midway through the 2013/14 season. He managed to finish 12th and in his first full season with the club, led them to an 8th place finish during 2014/15 including double wins over Manchester United and Arsenal.
The club are currently riding high in the league in 4th place after inflicting the first defeat of the season on Manchester United and also forced defending champions, Chelsea, to a stalemate at Stamford Bridge.
- Eddie Howe (37 years old)
Eddie Howe is a hero to Bournemouth, the team he leads as manager. Having played most of his career with the club, he took up a player-manager role from the age of 29. His tenure with the club has been successful. He avoided relegation from the league two, and got them promoted to league one before ending his first spell as manager in Jan 2011.
After a fairly successful spell with Burnley he returned to Bournemouth early in the 2012/13 season. He got them promoted to the Championship, before winning the 2014/15 Npower Championship and leading Bournemouth to the top division of English football for the first time.
Like Norwich City, Bournemouth have also picked up four points in their first four games of the season, not bad for a newly promoted team.
- Brendan Rodgers (42 years old)
The Current Liverpool boss has been on the scene for quite a while now and is about to start his sixth full year as a manager in charge. The Northern Irishman had previously managed Watford, Reading and Swansea City, guiding the Swans to the Premier League for the first time in their history, and laid the foundations for Swansea to consolidate in the world’s richest league.
His spell at Liverpool has seen mixed results after trying to rebuild the squad during 2012/13. The pinnacle was nearly winning the title in 2013/14, but 2014/15 was a disaster that saw the team unable to replicate those heights
- Roberto Martinez (42 years old)
The Everton boss began his managerial career in 2007 with Swansea City before joining Premier League outfit Wigan Athletic in 2009. Here, Martinez tended to flirt with relegation for most of the season before making a late charge to secure Premier League football for another season. His proudest managerial moment was to win the 2013 FA Cup final against favourites Manchester City with the Latics. However, three days later, his luck with Wigan ran out as they were relegated.
2013/14 saw him move to Everton and the first season was a resounding success as the Toffees finished 5th, with a 72 point haul. 2014/15 was one to forget with Everton finishing 12th in the Premier League, having flirted with relegation a few times.