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Ranking the five youngest managers in Premier League history

Ryan Mason will take charge of Tottenham for the first time this evening, the club’s former midfielder named as manager on an interim basis following the sacking of Jose Mourinho.

Mason will take charge of the north Londoners four years after injury prematurely ended his playing career, returning to former side Spurs shortly afterwards to begin his coaching career in the club’s academy system.


The 29-year-old will become the youngest manager in Premier League history when he takes charge of Spurs against Southampton tonight and ahead of his first game we’ve looked at the five youngest coaches the division has seen.

Here are the rankings of the five youngest managers in Premier League history:

André Villas-Boas – Chelsea (33 years, 301 days)

Roman Abramovich’s tenure as Chelsea owner has been littered with managerial upheaval, with the arrival of Villas-Boas from Porto – at a world record compensation cost – proving one of a number of ill-fated short-term reigns.

The Portuguese had been labelled as the second coming of Jose Mourinho after his emergence in his homeland, guiding Porto to the Europa League title at just 33-years-old to gain a reputation as one of Europe’s most promising young coaches.

Porto completed a famed unbeaten league campaign during their sole season under his management, as part of a treble including the Taca de Portugal and that aforementioned Europa League triumph.

He arrived at Chelsea after that single stunning season in 2011, but soon found the Premier League a much different proposition and lasted less than a year in west London, sacked in February of his first season as the Blues dropped out of the Champions League places.

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Gianluca Vialli – Chelsea (33 years, 227 days)

The second Chelsea manager to feature on this list, Vialli stepping in to replace Ruud Gullit as player-manager at Stamford Bridge in 1998.

Vialli’s appointment came as a surprise to many but performances instantly improved under the Italian’s stewardship, Chelsea winning six of their final ten league games to secure a fourth-placed finish.

It was in cup competition, however, where Vialli’s impact was most felt, lifting the League Cup with victory over Middlesbrough in March before leading the Blues to the final of the European Cup Winners’ Cup.

Gianfranco Zola scored the only goal of the game as Stuttgart were defeated in the final to secure a cup double, before Vialli added further success in the form of the Charity Shield, UEFA Super Cup and FA Cup over the following two seasons.

Sacked, harshly, just five games into the 2000/01 season after an indifferent start, Vialli remains a fans’ favourite at the west London side for his role in the club’s pre-Roman Abramovich successes.

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Chris Coleman – Fulham (32 years, 313 days)

Having finished his playing career at Fulham, Chris Coleman joined the club’s coaching staff under Jean Tigana before succeeding the Frenchman in a caretaker role following his sacking in March 2003.

The former Welsh international became the youngest manager in the club’s history but began brightly in his first senior coaching role, leading the club to a ninth-placed finish in his first full season in charge.

The sales of several key stars – including the likes of Louis Saha and Steed Malbranque – saw Fulham fail to build on their top-half finish, though Coleman kept the club away from danger throughout his four years in charge.

He was surprisingly sacked after a seven-game winless run in April 2007 and has since had spells in charge of the likes of Real Sociedad, Sunderland and the Wales national team.

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Attilio Lombardo – Crystal Palace (32 years, 67 days)

The former youngest manager in Premier League history is Crystal Palace favourite Attilio Lombardo, thrust into a player-manager role to save the club’s season after Steve Coppell moved into a Director of Football role at Selhurst Park.

Lombardo had only arrived at the newly-promoted club the previous summer from Juventus, though the Italian international had quickly won the hearts of the Eagles’ faithful before being thrust into a first senior coaching role.

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‘The Bald Eagle’ took charge of Palace’s final seven games of the 1997/98 season as part of a bizarre management team alongside teammate and interpreter Tomas Brolin, but the unlikely duo failed to stop the rot as the club were relegated to the second tier.

Lombardo stepped down as manager but remained for a further season as a player under Terry Venables, later returning to Italian football with Parma as Palace cut costs amid financial troubles.

Ryan Mason – Tottenham (29 years, 312 days)

Mason will become the first Premier League manager aged under 30 this evening, having been appointed as interim manager following the sacking of Jose Mourinho earlier this week.

The 29-year-old came through the academy system at Tottenham before establishing himself as a first-team player with the north London side, making 70 appearances across all competitions after honing his skills with a succession of loan spells.

The midfielder moved to Hull City in a club-record £13m deal in 2016, but made just 20 appearances for the club before his career was prematurely ended following a fractured skull injury against Chelsea.

After a lengthy recovery the one-cap England international announced his retirement from playing, returning to Spurs in a coaching capacity in 2018 and since working with a variety of sides at youth level.

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Now handed the reigns alongside the more experienced Chris Powell until the end of the season, Mason will be tasked with securing a top-four finish and major silverware, with the Carabao Cup final to come against Manchester City this weekend.

Read: How an Italian cult hero became the Premier League’s youngest ever manager

See Also: Five of the worst football ads ever: Owen, Rooney and Venkys chicken

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