A new crop of managers who have never played the game as professional players is rising in the football world. From a young Andre Villas-Boas to an even younger Will Still, here’s a list of the Top 10 youngest football managers to manage in the top 15 footballing leagues.
10. André Villas-Boas (Académica Coimbra/2009)
Debut Age: 32 years, 8 days
At the age of 32 years and 8 days, Portuguese-born Andre Villas-Boas made his managerial debut with Preiera Liga side Academica. He had a successful first season by helping his side avoid relegation. Villas-Boas went on to manage Porto next and became the youngest manager to ever win a European competition when he lifted the Europa League trophy in his first season with the Portuguese side. He has also managed Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspurs, and Marseille in his career.
9. Domenico Tedesco (Schalke/2017)
Debut Age: 31 years, 11 months, 7 days
Italian-born Dominic Tedesco started his career as youth team manager for German clubs Stuttgart and later Hoffenheim. At the age of 31 years, 11 months, 7 days, he made his managerial debut for Schalke. He is currently managing Spartak Moscow in Russia.
8. Yannick Ferrera (RSC Charleroi/2012)
Debut Age: 31 years, 10 months, 4 days
Belgian manager Yannick Ferrera managed the Anderlecht youth team, which included Romelu Lukaku and Adnan Januzaj, in his early days. At the age of 31 years, 10 months, 4 days, he debuted as a manager for Belgian side RSC Charleroi. He is currently the manager of Saudi Professional League outfit Al-Fateh.
7. Gunter Jacob (KV Mechelen/2000)
Debut Age: 31 years, 8 months, 2 days
Managing just one season as a proper manager (and not a player-coach), Gunter Jacob won KV Mechelen the promotion to the Belgian first league. He went on to become sporting director of Olympique Marseille, however, which lasted for just three months.
6. Robert Maaskant (RBC Roosendaal/2000)
Debut Age: 31 years, 7 months, 10 days
Dutch manager Rober Maaskant managed RBC Roosendaal at the age of 31 years, 7 months, 10 days, making him the sixth youngest on our list. He had many stints in his managerial career as a manager for lower-tier teams.
5. Ian Cathro (Heart of Midlothian/2016)
Debut Age: 30 years, 4 months, 29 days
Ian Cathro was assistant manager of Newcastle United before joining Scottish side Heart of Midlothian. His appointment was a source of debate as the players were not sure if such a young manager will do a good job. After an unsuccessful season, he was sacked. He is currently the first-team coach of Wolverhampton Wanderers.
4. Ryan Mason (Tottenham Hotspur/2021)
Debut Age: 29 years, 10 months, 8 days
Ryan Mason was a budding English midfielder playing for Hull City. On 22 January 2017, Mason suffered a fractured skull that required surgery after a clash of heads with defender Gary Cahill, in a Premier League match against Chelsea. He could not recover well enough to risk playing again, therefore, had to retire. Following the sacking of Jose Mourinho as the head coach of Spurs, Ryan Mason, who was the head of player development (U-17 to U-23), has been appointed as the interim manager.
3. Guillermo Abascal (FC Lugano/2018)
Debut Age: 29 years, 1 days
Guillermo Abascal spent his youth playing years in La Masia (Barcelona) and Sevilla. He went on to manage the Sevilla youth team and a fresh 29-year-old Abascal was then appointed as the head coach of Swiss football club FC Lugano in 2018.
2. Julian Nagelsmann (TSG Hoffenheim/2016)
Debut Age: 28 years, 6 months, 21 days
Another famous name on the list is German manager Julian Nagelsman, who is currently managing Red Bull Leipzig. After winning the league with the Hoffenheim youth team, Nagelsmann was appointed manager of the senior team at the age of 28 years, 6 months, 21 days. After a successful run with the Bundesliga club, Nagelsmann went on to manage Leipzig and even reached the CL semi-finals last year.
1. Will Still (Beerschot V.A./2021)
Debut Age: 28 years, 3 months, 6 days
For four years Nagelsmann was the youngest manager in the top 15 leagues before Will Still was appointed in January 2021 by Belgian club Beerschot to see out the season. He was the team’s assistant manager for two years before getting promoted at the age of 28 years, 3 months, 6 days.