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Why Swansea boss Rodgers is a serious contender on Tottenham's managerial shortlist

Why Swansea boss Rodgers is a serious contender on Tottenham's managerial shortlist

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The 39-year-old Northern Irishman, whose side travel to White Hart Lane on Sunday, is in Spurs' thoughts as they prepare for Harry Redknapp to take the England job

ANALYSIS
By Greg Stobart

Six months ago, Brendan Rodgers would have featured some way down the list of potential new Tottenham managers, but the Swansea City boss has impressed so much that he is now a serious contender to take over from Harry Redknapp in the summer.

It is not just Swansea’s achievements this season - they sit comfortably in mid-table in their first campaign in the top flight - but it is their style of play and Rodgers' philosophy that is starting to convince people at White Hart Lane that he could be the man to take the club forward.

On Sunday, the Welsh club travel to north London with Tottenham ready to step up their recruitment drive - and Rodgers has the opportunity to put forward his case with a squad that cost less than £30 million to assemble.

RODGERS' MANAGERIAL RECORD

WATFORD | 2008-09
GAMES
WON
DRAWN
LOST
WIN PERCENTAGE
32
13
7
12
59%
READING | 2009
GAMES
WON
DRAWN
LOST
WIN PERCENTAGE
23
6
6
11
26%
SWANSEA | 2010-PRESENT
GAMES
WON
DRAWN
LOST
WIN PERCENTAGE
88
41
18
29
47%
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is increasingly resigned to losing Redknapp at the end of the season, despite the offer of a new contract and up to £70m to spend in the transfer market. As revealed by Goal.com earlier this month, the 65-year-old has decided that he wants to accept the England job should he, as expected, be offered the job.

Levy has been making contingency plans for more than two years but believes that there are no stand-out candidates should he fail to land Jose Mourinho, his first choice. The Real Madrid manager has been sounded out but Spurs sources expect him to stay at the Bernabeu for at least one more season.

That leaves possible replacements for Redknapp on the 'B list', as one source put it. The high-profile, trophy-laden managers that Tottenham would like are not available, especially with Chelsea also looking for a new boss.

It leaves a small group of candidates, all of which would be considered a gamble. Rafa Benitez was successful at Liverpool and Valencia but has a damaged reputation, while Spurs fear that his style of management would be too removed from Redknapp's 'arm around the shoulder' approach.

Therefore, Tottenham are considering a calculated gamble in Rodgers, a manager with the potential to keep them in Europe’s elite, rather than a 'safe' option like Everton boss David Moyes. Although the Scot has admirers in the Spurs boardroom, there are concerns over his style of play and negative tactics.

There are no such issues with Rodgers, of course. The Ulsterman, hailed as "fantastic" by Redknapp on Friday, has just three years' experience as a manager but has shown his ability to get results this season while playing attractive, pass-and-move football.

Rodgers describes working under Jose Mourinho at Chelsea as a football education "the equivalent of going to Harvard" and, at just 39, his philosophy has drawn comparisons with Barcelona and their coach, Pep Guardiola.

Rodgers is ambitious. He has made no secret of his desire to manage a bigger club and to compete for trophies. At the same time, he knows the importance of making the right decisions when tracking his career path. Asked earlier this month whether he would be interested in becoming Chelsea manager, he said: "I am trying to build my career and not destroy it."

But the Spurs job is different. It would suit him - and it could be the right decision for the club if they are willing to take a calculated gamble.

It would be up to Rodgers to impress Levy when interviewed but his principles are attractive. His experience as a highly regarded Academy manager, for example, would provide top-down guidance on training and recruitment of the best young players as Spurs move in to a £45m state-of-the-art training centre in Enfield this summer.

At Swansea he has also shown an ability to get the best out of his players, to improve footballers’ skills, whether it’s Leon Britton, Scott Sinclair or Spurs loanee Steven Caulker. If he could have the same impact on the players at White Hart Lane, then title challenges could beckon.

LEVEL AT THE LANE?
20/1
Tottenham and Swansea are 20/1 with Bet365 to draw 2-2
The question marks are obvious. He has not even completed one season in the top flight, he has not worked with big-name superstars like Gareth Bale and no-one knows what he would do if given £20m to spend on one player in the transfer market.

These are all issues that would have to be taken into account, but Arsene Wenger faced similar questions when he arrived at another north London club in 1996. That hasn’t worked out too badly.

Rodgers' failed spell in charge of Reading, where he was previously head of the youth teams, will be a warning that there are no guarantees, that gambling on the flavour of the month is not always the right idea.

But Rodgers is one of the most promising managers in the game. His attention to detail, his style of play and his handling of the players have made big clubs stand up and take note.

As the whole of Europe try to replicate the Barcelona model, Tottenham may conclude that Rodgers is their man.

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