Premier League coaches tip Spain to win Euro 2012

Only a minority of top flight bosses surveyed see Roy Hodgson's team progressing beyond the quarter-finals, but think Joe Hart will be their star man
Premier League managers are tipping Spain to triumph at Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine, according to research carried out by Barclays, title sponsor of the League Managers Association (LMA).

The survey has revealed that 73 per cent of top flight bosses expect Vicente del Bosque's team to retain their crown in July, becoming the first team to ever win three major international tournaments in a row.

The remaining 27% of coaches opted to back Joachim Low's Germany, who were beaten by Spain at the semi-final stage of the 2010 World Cup.

Bosses expect Joe Hart to prove a key figure, with 60% believing that the Manchester City keeper would be the country's best player during the tournament
A majority of coaches, meanwhile, do not expect England to progress beyond the quarter-final stage this summer. 73% predicted that Roy Hodgson's team would reach the quarters, with just 27% envisioning an advance to the semi-finals. None, however, doubted England's ability to successfully navigate the group stage.

However far England progress, the bosses expect Joe Hart to prove a key figure, with 60% believing that the Manchester City keeper would be the country's best player during the tournament, with the next best guess, Steven Gerrard, trailing behind on 13%.

Phil Jones, Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott and Scott Parker were also nominated.

The coaches also answered questions on the 2011-12 Premier League season. Unsurprisingly, 67% picked out Robin van Persie as the player of the season, with David Silva next on 13%. Silva's Manchester City team-mates Vincent Kompany, Joe Hart and Sergio Aguero all collected 7% of the vote.

New Liverpool coach Brendan Rodgers' work at Swansea City was praised, as 53% voted the Welsh side the team of the season based on their relative resources. Fellow top flight newcomers Norwich City picked up 27% of the vote, while Newcastle United and Wigan Athletic were also recognised and tallied 13% and 7% respectively.

Papiss Cisse won out in the signing of the season stakes with 33% of the vote, while on 20% his Newcastle team-mate Demba Ba tied Aguero for second place. Parker, Jones and Swansea duo Michel Vorm and Gylfi Sigurdsson were all on 7%, with Everton's Nikica Jelavic snubbed.

Despite his player of the season gong, Van Persie (20%) trailed Rooney (47%) when coaches were asked which Premier League player they would sign if money were no object. Kompany was next on 13%, while Michael Carrick was a surprise inclusion alongside Silva and Aguero.

11/4 Spain are 11/4 to win Euro 2012 with Paddy Power
Next season, however, Van Persie's reign is predicted to continue; 53% thought he would make a bigger impact than any other player in the Premier League next season, ahead of Rooney on 7%. Silva came in second place on 13%, with Hart also receiving 7%, while 20% did not state an answer.

Despite their recent experience in the Premier League, current top flight coaches thought West Ham United would fare worse than fellow newly-promoted sides Southampton and Reading upon their return to the big time. Sam Allardyce's team were awarded just 20% of the vote, with the Saints and Royals on 40% each, when bosses were asked which of the teams they thought would cope best with the step up from the Championship.

As for players currently outside the Premier League, Rickie Lambert was tipped by 33% to shine when he makes his bow with Southampton next season. Jay Rodriguez of Burnley could be joining him at St Mary's and picked up 7% as coaches judged which of the Football League's finest talents had the most top level potential.

Also on 7% were Blackpool's Matt Phillips, Reading's Jobi McAnuff and Birmingham City's Nathan Redmond, while the sole inclusion from below the Championship was Crewe Alexandra's Nick Powell, who helped his side to promotion to League One last season. Somewhat tellingly, 33% did not respond to the question.