Former England captains among contenders to replace Dean Smith at Aston Villa

·2-min read

Dean Smith’s departure from Aston Villa has thrown open another managerial vacancy and some of the usual suspects are already being lined up to replace the former Brentford man.

Here the PA news agency runs the rule over a handful of those who are being floated in the betting markets as potential successors.

Steven Gerrard

Rangers v Aberdeen – Scottish Premiership – Ibrox Stadium
Steven Gerrard led Rangers to their first title in 10 years (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Gerrard’s success in Scotland, where he led Rangers to their first Scottish title in 10 years last season, has ensured his name is linked with Premier League vacancies as a matter of course. The question remains whether the former Liverpool man – who knows Villa chief executive Christian Purslow from his time at Anfield – would wish to leave his perennial title contenders in favour of the tough task at Villa Park.

John Terry

Liverpool v Aston Villa – Premier League – Anfield
John Terry, right, was previously part of Dean Smith’s backroom team (Clive Brunskill/PA)

Terry finished his illustrious playing career at Villa before returning to spend three years as Smith’s assistant coach, a stint which ended this summer. Whether that leaves the former Chelsea and England captain too close to the Smith regime – or whether his departure is linked with the club’s downturn in fortunes – will dictate whether Terry emerges as a legitimate contender to replace his former boss.

Paulo Fonseca

Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk – UEFA Champions League – Group F – Etihad Stadium
Paulo Fonseca has been linked with a number of Premier League roles (Martin Rickett/PA)

The continental coach of the moment, Fonseca was strongly linked with Newcastle in recent weeks and again finds himself among the leading contenders for the Villa role. Fonseca departed Roma in May having led them to the semi-finals of the Europa League, and the experienced Portuguese boss also enjoyed a successful spell in Ukraine with Shakhtar Donetsk.

Frank Lampard

Champions League Final Preview Package
Frank Lampard has been out of work since leaving Chelsea (Andy Rain/PA)

Having taken Derby into the Championship play-offs, Lampard moved to Chelsea in 2019, but departed in January after a disappointing series of results, amid rumours of dressing-room unrest. While Lampard remains a highly-respected figure, his experience at Stamford Bridge may leave him struggling to convince Villa’s owners that he is the best man for the job.

Graham Potter

Liverpool v Brighton and Hove Albion – Premier League – Anfield
Graham Potter has received rave reviews for his role at Brighton (Nick Potts/PA)

A bid for the current Brighton boss would be audacious move from Villa, and it is far from certain that Potter would consider a switch to Villa Park a step up. Since moving to the south coast from Swansea in 2019, Potter has emerged as one of the most highly-rated British coaches, ensuring the Seagulls are firmly ensconced in the Premier League’s top 10.

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