Kompany tapped into managing Man City but it doesn’t always work

Vincent Kompany will get his first taste of life in the dugout at Etihad Stadium when he and his Championship team Burnley take on Manchester City in Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-finals (Live stream on ESPN+, 1:45 p.m., US only.)

“Vinny’s destiny to become City manager is in the stars,” said Pep Guardiola earlier this month after his side were drawn against Kompany’s club in the last eight. “It’s going to happen, I don’t know when, but it’s going to happen.”

It was a brave statement from Guardiola about a 36-year-old who is only in his fourth season as coach, having spent his first three in Belgium with Anderlecht. But the City boss had good reason to believe that Kompany would eventually become one of his successors.

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Kompany is the most successful captain in City history, having won four Premier League titles, four EFL Cups and two FA Cups in 11 seasons with the club. In his first season as Burnley manager, he is now just three wins away from promotion to the Premier League.

When he arrived at Turf Moor in the summer, Kompany, who graduated from Manchester Business School in 2017 with a master’s degree in business administration, told ESPN he took the job at a “very sensitive and dangerous time” as the Club forced out player and cuts cost of servicing £55million loan

But despite the obvious pitfalls and risks of jeopardizing his reputation at Burnley, Kompany has transformed the club and the team’s style of play. He has beaten the odds to move within the grasp of promotion. Now Burnley travels to City with confidence they could shock the reigning Premier League champions. So when Guardiola speaks so highly of his former captain, it’s clear why. Kompany is a rising star in management and Burnley will have to face a struggle to keep him sooner rather than later.

However, whether Kompany’s career path ultimately takes him back to City will depend on whether he not only maintains his upward trend but is also strategic in his decisions. One bad move could end his hopes of managing City forever. Football is littered with managers who were ‘destined’ for a particular club, only to have their ambitions dashed by making the right choice at the wrong time.

Steven Gerrard built a clear path to the Liverpool job by making such an impressive start to management in Scotland with Rangers, but his move to Aston Villa in November 2021 proved more of a trapdoor than a stepping stone and he was sacked after less than a year at Villa Park. His prospects of one day succeeding Jurgen Klopp at Anfield appear to have gone up in smoke simply because he made a poor choice in leaving Rangers for Villa.

Patrick Vieira was also slated to be City’s future coach, having spent eight years with City Football Group as a player, youth team coach and then manager of New York City FC in the MLS. But after an unsuccessful 18-month tenure as manager of French club Nice, the former Arsenal captain is now in a relegation battle at Crystal Palace. The days of being tipped off to manage City or Arsenal seem long gone.

The list of former Manchester United players identified as Sir Alex Ferguson’s apparent successors at Old Trafford – among them Steve Bruce, Bryan Robson, Roy Keane and Ryan Giggs – has become a similar tale of hopes shattered by bad decisions were nullified and bad results.

Frank Lampard is perhaps an exception, having been appointed Chelsea manager in 2019 after just a year in management at Derby County. But had Chelsea not been under a global transfer ban and therefore unattractive to the game’s elite coaches, it is questionable whether Lampard, a Chelsea legend, would have been offered the job in the first place.

Lampard, like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United in 2018, was handed a path back to his former club because they were in trouble and needed a figure from the past whose reputation as a player could spark a revival and instill some kind of feel-good factor . That may be the only way for Gerrard to end up at Liverpool – a pavement appointment rather than being at the pinnacle of his profession.

Mikel Arteta got the job at Arsenal in similar circumstances in 2019 and the former Gunners midfielder has seized his opportunity and made it work, but he’s a rarity when he does.

For now, Kompany has yet to be tainted by the failures that have tarnished the ambitions of some of his contemporaries so his options for the future remain alive. He could agree with Guardiola by one day taking the job at City, but it won’t be his achievements at Burnley that will convince the club’s hierarchy that he is the man to take charge at Etihad. It will be his next step, and maybe even the one after that, that will determine if he is on the right track to lead City.

Being a club legend helps with management, but it only gets you so far and Kompany still has work to do before he reaches the Etihad. He needs to keep winning but also be smart with his decisions along the way to avoid the setbacks that Gerrard, Vieira and all those ex-United players have suffered.

Beating City and knocking them out of the FA Cup this weekend certainly won’t hurt his prospects.

https://www.espn.com/soccer/english-fa-cup/story/4901886/burnley-boss-vincent-kompany-is-tipped-to-manage-manchester-city-but-explayers-dont-always-work-out Kompany tapped into managing Man City but it doesn’t always work


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