Charlie Nicholas believes Eddie Howe would start his career as manager of Celtic at a major disadvantage compared to previous head coach Brendan Rodgers.
Howe is heavily tipped to replace Neil Lennon at the Scottish champions but Nicholas thinks that, unlike Rodgers, the Englishman will have a major job on his hands rebuilding the playing squad:
“People might draw comparisons between Howe and Brendan Rodgers, but you have to remember that Celtic were a still dominant force when Rodgers took charge in 2016. OK, they weren’t winning all the domestic cups but they were always ahead in the league.”
“A lot of the Celtic players that Rodgers improved in his time there have dwindled away. Come the summer, I don’t think Odsonne Edouard will be here, Olivier Ntcham will go too and loan trio Moi Elyounoussi, Diego Laxalt and Shane Duffy will return to their parent clubs. Howe, or whoever has the reins, will need to rebuild.”
Nicholas says he does rate Howe, having watched his Bournemouth side’s play entertaining football in the English Premier League for many years but he is an unknown quantity when it comes to managing a big club.
Instead, Nicholas makes a couple of surprising recommendations as to who should take over from Lennon. He has plumped for two Spanish World Cup winners, Xavi and Xabi Alonso.
The former is managing Qatari club Al Sadd while the latter is coaching Real Sociedad’s B team at the moment. Both appointments would be leftfield choices, unlike Howe who is seen as the most likely candidate to take on the role.