Think of it as the ultimate stress test. A high-pressure environment with unremitting demands.
Perfect, you could say, for a manager whose entire game model is built on the kind of ferocious intensity that inspires at least one of his former players to draw comparisons to Pep Guardiola.
In a company where every decision is a gamble of sorts, the upcoming appointment of Eddie Howe by Celtic looks like a well-researched piece of recruitment.
Incoming Celtic manager Eddie Howe (left) has a whiff of Pep Guardiola (right) on him
Until someone is pushed into Glasgow’s greenhouse conditions, it is impossible to know how they will fare.
But should the Englishman’s reputation for improving players be confirmed by results, even the most skeptical of fans will agree with Jurgen Klopp – who praised Howe as ‘one of the best managers I’ve ever met’.
The 43-year-old is a hands-on coach who likes to be on the training field. He’s a meticulous planner whose immersion in the job goes far beyond putting together a squad, selecting a team, and getting players to tap between games.
Each session has been carefully designed to achieve a specific goal. Attention to detail goes hand in hand with hard work.
Celtic needs a professional to carry out a major renovation. Someone who can start yesterday.
In Howe, they seem to have someone who is guaranteed to make the opposition’s life uncomfortable.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp (left) described Howe as ‘one of the best managers I’ve met’
Scottish star Ryan Fraser, who worked under Howe in Bournemouth, makes no apologies for pointing out the similarities between his longtime gaffer and Manchester City boss Guardiola.
“Obviously, Pep is top, top, top and Eddie is very good, but there are comparisons,” Fraser told the podcast The Big Interview.
‘The hard work. The thorough analysis of every little detail. Small runs that can affect the movement, space, everything of the other team.
‘And the reaction press, teams like Barcelona, Manchester City and Bayern Munich are so good at it.
‘If they lose the ball, they get it back so high on the field and make so many goals.
‘If you lose the ball and the opponent gets it back, they expand. If you get it back right away, you will penetrate them even more.
Ryan Fraser (front) says Howe’s (back) meticulous approach is very similar to Guardiola
“When I read the Pep book or watched the Manchester City documentary, I thought, ‘Yes, we did.’ ‘
Ex-Bournemouth captain Tommy Elphick supported that assessment, saying of Howe, ‘He will tap into Celtic’s great history and his playing style will really fit.
‘It’s exciting, fast. We always went to win the game, be it against Man City in the Premier League or against Oldham in League One. Playing to win against the biggest opponents is one thing. You are expected to be victorious every time you draft, something completely different.
But Howe, coach of the reserve team while still playing for Bournemouth before even reaching his 30th birthday, understands what it’s like to get results desperately.
He is credited by most Cherries fans with saving their club from extinction in his first managerial job, somehow achieving League Two status from a team that started the season at minus 17. points after administration.
Howe is known as a hands-on coach during training and plans the very small details
He then took Bournemouth all the way to the Premier League, maintaining their top status for five seasons before relegation and a ‘mutual’ farewell to the roads last summer.
Between those two extremes, however, was an unfortunate 18-month period at Burnley.
Motherwell manager Graham Alexander, despite admitting to having had ‘problems’ with Howe playing under him at Turf Moor, doesn’t believe the lack of success should be blamed against him there.
“He’s a fantastic manager,” said Alexander. ‘It was a difficult time for me and we certainly had our problems. I fought for that team, I was the captain of the club, but he had plans to change teams. And it had to be changed.
‘I only understood what he was going through when I became a manager myself.
Since then, I’ve made the exact same decisions with players that he made with me. When I first got a job as a manager, he sent me a nice message. I have no problems in the future, but it was not the best time for me on the field. You could see the quality he had and he has proven it through the divisions in Bournemouth.
You never know how a manager will handle Celtic’s pressure, but Howe looks like a smart move
His reputation is not false, it is based on results and success at different levels.
‘It will be a different challenge for him (at Celtic) than before. He may have found Burnley a different challenge from what he had in Bournemouth.
‘But quality managers like him always adapt to the situation and find the best. He has worked with younger players in the past. I think he had to do that in Bournemouth in the beginning, but he had a lot of success with them.
‘No matter which club hires him, you are almost certain that he will do an excellent job.
“Obviously, the parameters at Celtic and Rangers are pretty extreme, so that’s a challenge for any manager who gets one of those jobs.”