Ranking England Manager Records Since 2000
England’s Millennial Managers
They say that being the manager of the England Men's Football Team is the poisoned chalice of professional sport. Sure, countries like Brazil, Argentina or Germany have the expectancy from their fans to win every single tournament they attend, but there’s just something so toxic about England that makes it stand out.
The spirit of ‘66 and subsequent failures on pretty much every big stage since, the constant tropes of penalty shootouts and losses to Germany or Portugal, and the continued ‘club vs. country’ feeling around the country’s football have all proven to be enough to send even the most competent and accomplished managers crazy.
Since the turn of the millennium, England have had seven men who have been appointed for the ‘Impossible Job’. It’s fair to say there have been more downs than ups though…
Kevin Keegan (Feb. 1999 - Oct. 2000)
England Record: 7 Wins, 7 Draws, 4 Losses
A talismanic and gifted footballer during his day and someone who will never have to pay for a pint in Newcastle for as long as he lives, Kevin Keegan was appointed England manager following the dismissal of Glenn Hoddle in 1999 after a solid run with Newcastle and leading Fulham into Division 1.
Things never really got going for King Kev and England however. In what won’t be the first instance of this on this list, Keegan repeatedly butted heads with the FA over squad selections and the rejection of Arthur Cox as assistant manager for being ‘too old’. Keegan led England during Euro 2000, boasting a squad filled with respected veterans such as David Seaman, Paul Ince, Alan Shearer, Martin Keown and Tony Adams and genuine world class players in Steve MacManaman, Paul Scholes, Sol Campbell, Robbie Fowler and Gary Neville in their prime. He also had two of the world’s most-hyped youngsters in Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen, as well the legendary David Beckham who was fresh off coming second place in the 1999 Ballon D’or awards.
A group stage exit of the competition after defeats to Portugal and Romania was therefore somewhat underwhelming.
The rot had sadly set in for Keegan, and after a 1-0 defeat to Germany in the qualifying for the 2002 World Cup, in what was the final game at the old Wembley stadium, he resigned in October 2000 with his popularity at an all-time low.
Sven-Göran Eriksson (Jan. 2001 - Jul. 2006)
England Record: 40 Wins, 17 Draws, 10 Losses
The longest serving manager on this list at the time of writing, Super Sven led England through three major competitions, was the first foreigner to lead the side, oversaw the rise and fall of the country’s ‘Golden Generation’ and is arguably the most disappointing manager in recent times.
Eriksson came in during a time when national morale was through the floor and there was a realistic chance England would miss out on qualification for the 2002 World Cup. A famous 5-1 night in Munich and a last-gasp Beckham free kick helped make Sven the most popular man in England for a time, but these would arguably prove to be the high points of his time in charge.
At all three of Sven’s tournaments, World Cups 2002, 2006 and Euro 2004, England were knocked out in the quarter-final stage, with two of those coming against Portugal and a penalty shootout. For the Eriksson-era, it was simply a case of faltering whenever the going got tough against a top tier opponent.
Sven-Goran Eriksson arguably had the luxury of picking the strongest side England had ever fielded as well, making these quarter-final exits look all the more embarrassing. Generational talents like Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand and John Terry were all shoe-horned in together but never really looked comfortable playing with one another due to their club allegiances.
Eriksson’s inability to get his best players playing together also coincided with a serious lack of any player-management prowess. Shoving Paul Scholes out on the left hand side of the midfield cut short what should have been a far longer international career, while underrated players like Michael Carrick or Gareth Barry were completely forgotten about, and exciting youngsters such as Theo Walcott or Wayne Rooney were just thrown around without much direction from the manager.
Steve McClaren (Aug. 2006 - Nov. 2007)
England Record: 9 Wins, 4 Draws, 5 Losses
The Wally with the Brolly is football’s best example that being second in command to successful managers does not mean that you’re destined to become one yourself.
McClaren had been the assistant manager to both Eriksson for England and Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, but was actually only offered the position of England manager when Luiz Scolari turned down the position. McClaren’s long-running list of nicknames from the British press began there with ‘Second-Choice Steve’, and led to him hiring Max Clifford as a public relations guru.
‘Image’ became the key word of McClaren’s early days in charge of England, with the former assistant attempting to usher in a new era of football for the side by dropping the likes of Sol Campbell, David James and David Beckham. This led to the team going on a run of not scoring for five games straight and forcing McClaren into a dramatic U-Turn call of recalling Beckham to the team.
Things culminated on the final matchday of qualifying with a match against already-qualified Croatia at Wembley. Avoid defeat, and England would be at the tournament, but lose and it would be the first time in twenty-four years that the Three Lions wouldn’t be appearing at a European Championship.
Goals from Niko Krancjar, Ivica Olic and Mladen Petri¿ however sealed McClaren and England’s fates. In what will remain one of the most embarrassing moments for any England fan, Croatia ran out 3-2 winners, England dropped to 15th in the FIFA World Rankings, and McClaren and his brolly were swiftly dumped.
Fabio Capello (Dec. 2007 - Feb. 2012)
England Record: 28 Wins, 8 Draws, 6 Losses
Arguably no one in world football was more qualified to manage a leading international side in 2007 than Fabio Capello. The Italian had been in the game as both a player and a manager from 1964, had led the likes of Real Madrid, AC Milan, Juventus and Roma and was a Champions League and league title winner in both Spain and Italy.
And his appointment to the post of England manager was seen as a coup by players, fans and pundits alike. In comparison to the likes of Eriksson and McClaren, Capello was presented as a no-nonsense, disciplined winner, someone capable of running a tight ship, doing away with the egos of sides before and delivering the crunch results against the world’s best. If a guy with so many titles and so much success couldn’t turn England into a proper team, who could?
Capello already jumped the small bar set by McClaren by getting England to the 2010 World Cup, but it soon became clear that the FA had hired an absolute madman once the team landed in South Africa however.
The choice of an Italian-favourite 4-4-2 formation with Steven Gerrard playing left midfield looked outdated throughout the tournament, the choice to select the likes of Emile Heskey and an injured Ledley King over people like Theo Walcott looked odd, and Capello’s regimented approach to the management of his players in the wake of the John Terry-Wayne Bridge scandal led to howler-ridden performances and angry outbursts from the likes of Rob Green against the USA and Wayne Rooney against Algeria.
Despite being tipped as a strong performer by most football betting markets pre-tournament, stodgy performances and one ghost goal against Germany meant that England were out of yet another major competition without troubling any of the big teams.
Capello soldiered on despite mounting pressure surrounding him and actually continued his strong performance in qualifying for tournaments by getting England on the plane for Euro 2012. However, when the FA took the captain’s armband away from John Terry in 2012, he resigned from his position after citing frustration at the amount of involvement the organisation had in team affairs.
Roy Hodgson (May. 2012 - Jun. 2016)
England Record: 33 Wins, 15 Draws, 8 Losses
Roy Hodgson’s time in charge of England can be described as being the era of lowering expectations, and then proceeding to find new ways of disappointing fans. After seeing off the usual competition from Harry Redknapp, Hodgson was signed as England manager before Euro 2012 on an initial four year deal. He had flopped managing some of the Premier League’s biggest names at Liverpool, but two reasonably solid spells with Fulham and West Brom was enough to convince the FA that this was the man to lead England through the end of its ‘golden generation’ of players.
A quarter-final penalty shootout defeat to Italy at Euro 2012 was probably the height of England’s tournament performances under Hodgson however. His side arrived at the 2014 World Cup with some strong football odds to back, but ended up bowing out in the group stage for the first time since 1958 without a single win to their name.
Hodgson was forgiven for this showing by the FA, who pointed to the emerging young talents in the side and the near-flawless qualifying records he had up until that point. These trends did indeed continue heading into Euro 2016, where England became only the fifth side in European history to qualify for a competition with a 100% winning record.
However, what followed was a series of games that continue to send shivers down the spines of every England fan up and down the land to this day. A draw with Russia, a last-gasp win against Wales and a 0-0 draw against Slovakia saw the Three Lions limp to a second place finish in their group and set up a tie against Iceland.
In what has been dubbed the worst performance by any English side at a major competition and the biggest shock since the 1-0 defeat to the USA at the 1950 World Cup, Roy Hodgson led his side to a 1-2 loss against the side ranked 34th in the world and a nation containing just 330,000 people.
Hodgson was the highest paid manager at that tournament by some margin, but left as the ultimate figure of embarrassment for the world to point to. He was dumped out of the spotlight following the debacle and, though his reputation has recovered somewhat since finding his mediocre level managing Crystal Palace since 2017, his win percentage of just 58% is the second-worst ratio of any manager to lead the team over at least twenty games.
Sam Allardyce (Jul.-Sep. 2016)
England Record: 1 Win, 0 Draws, 0 Losses
England’s most successful manager ever with a 100% winning record, Sam Allardyce secured the job of his dreams in July 2016 following the mess that was the Euro 2016 campaign. Known for his defiant, if not ugly, style of play, Allardyce’s appointment wasn’t something most fans were all too excited by, but at least there was no chance ‘Big Sam’ would allow his side to go out and be outfought by a team like Iceland.
He kicked off his reign with a last minute 1-0 win over Slovakia courtesy of Adam Lallana, but would soon find himself out of work when rumours of malpractice began to surface.
In an investigation conducted by The Daily Telegraph, Allardyce was shown talking to what he assumed were two businessmen about how to bypass Fifa and FA rules on third party ownership of players, as well as making some pretty unflattering comments on the likes of Gary Neville and Roy Hodgson.
A day after these events came to light, Allardyce resigned and signed himself off with the shortest reign of any permanent manager with just 67 days in the job.
Gareth Southgate (Sep. 2016-)
England Record To Date: 24 Wins, 9 Draws, 8 Losses
It’s fair to say national morale was through the floor when Gareth Southgate was promoted from England U-21 coach initially just on a temporary basis. The Euro 2016 campaign, controversy surrounding Sam Allardyce and what was seen as another appointment that lacked ambition and excitement, the first few matches of Southgate’s reign were pretty uninspiring and drew in a fair amount of apathy from supporters.
However, that all changed during the summer of 2018 and that year’s World Cup. Beer gardens were permanently packed out and waistcoat sales flew through the ceiling as Southgate became only the third English manager to lead his side into a World Cup semi-final. Though it didn’t come home in the end, Southgate showed that this success wasn’t a mere fluke by going onto beat Croatia and Spain and finishing third at the 2019 UEFA Nations League.
In many ways, Gareth Southgate feels like the only true modern manager England have had since the turn of the millennium. Unlike every other manager on this list, he understands the dynamics of a modern player and has done a superb job in bridging the gaps between the FA, national side, fans and the press.
It shouldn’t be forgotten that he hasn’t managed to scoop up any silverware yet, however there’s a real sense that England are finally pulling in the same direction again with an influx of new and exciting talents and a rejuvenated level of interest in national football from fans. Out of every manager on this list, he’s also the only one to actually win a penalty shootout.