Who are the youngest managers in Premier League history?

15 Jun 2024
Youngest managers V2

Following Brighton's appointment of 31-year-old Hurzeler, we look at the top-flight's youngest head coaches

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When Brighton & Hove Albion confirmed the appointment of Fabian Hurzeler as their new head coach, they put the German into the Premier League's history books.

The 31-year-old has ended Chris Coleman's 21-year record as the competition's youngest-ever permanent manager. And when he takes charge of his first Premier League match when the 2024/25 season starts on 17 August, Hurzeler will be aged at 31 years and 180 days.

However, he is not the youngest overall to have taken charge of a Premier League club.

That record belongs to Ryan Mason, who in the first of two temporary stints as caretaker manager at Tottenham Hotspur, was aged only 29 years, 312 days. Mason remains the only ever head coach or manager aged under 30 to take charge of a team in the top flight.

Here, we take a look at some of Hurzeler's youngest Premier League contemporaries, both permanent and interim.

Ryan Mason (29y, 312d)
Ryan Mason, Spurs

First PL match: Spurs 2-1 Southampton (21 April, 2021)

Following Jose Mourinho's dismissal in April 2021, former Spurs' midfielder Mason was appointed as interim head coach for the remaining six matches of the season.

In his his first fixture, a 2-1 home win against Southampton, Mason named four players in the starting XI whom he played alongside during his own Premier League career - Hugo Lloris, Eric Dier, Toby Alderweireld and Son Heung-min.

Attilio Lombardo (32y, 67d)
Lombardo, Villa v Palace

First PL match: Aston Villa 3-1 Crystal Palace (14 March, 1998)

Palace were rock-bottom of the table when Lombardo was handed the role of caretaker player-manager in place of Steve Coppell, who had taken up a new role as director of football.

Lombardo was only the second Italian to manage a Premier League club after Gianluca Vialli. He started his brief stint at the helm towards the end of the 1997/98 season with a 3-1 defeat at Villa, one of four losses in his six matches in charge.

Chris Coleman (32y, 313d)
Chris Coleman

First PL match (temporary): Fulham 2-1 Newcastle (19 April, 2003)
First PL match (permanent): Fulham 3-2 Middlesbrough (16 August, 2003)

Coleman had only announced his retirement as a player six months before he was handed the managerial role, initially on a temporary basis, after Jean Tigana had left struggling Fulham.

The Welshman steered Fulham to three wins in five matches to secure their Premier League status, and was rewarded with the job on a permanent basis in the summer of 2003. Against Middlesbrough on 16 August, Coleman became the youngest-ever permanent top-flight manager to take charge of a match, aged just 33 years and 67 days.

Gianluca Vialli (33y, 227d)
Vialli, Chelsea

First PL match: Leicester City 2-0 Chelsea (21 February, 1998)

After Ruud Gullit was dismissed in early 1998, Vialli assumed the role of a player-manager and enjoyed great success at Stamford Bridge. 

He helped Chelsea to win the FA Cup, along with the League Cup, the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and the UEFA Super Cup, as well as earn the club UEFA Champions League qualification for the first time.

Andre Villas-Boas (33y, 301d)
Andre Villas-Boas, Chelsea

First PL match: Stoke City 0-0 Chelsea (14 August, 2011)

Having become the youngest manager to ever win the UEFA Europa League, with Porto, Villas-Boas was appointed Carlo Ancelotti's successor at Chelsea ahead of the 2011/12 campaign.

Despite a positive start, Villas-Boas' time at Chelsea came to an end in February 2012.

Ruud Gullit (33y, 352d)
Gullit, Chelsea

First PL match: Southampton 0-0 Chelsea (18 August, 1996)

Described as "charismatic and insightful", Gullit initially joined Chelsea as a player in 1995 before taking on the role of player-manager the following year after Glenn Hoddle's departure.

The Dutchman became both the first overseas and black manager to win the FA Cup, which was also the club’s first major success in 26 years, while leading Chelsea to a sixth-placed finish.

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