- Birthplace: St Albans, England
- Previous Clubs: None
- Honours: None
2013/14 English Premier League Record
Tim Sherwood probably wasn't the first name on Tottenham fans' lips when Andre Villas-Boas was sacked after Tottenham's 5-0 thumping at home to Liverpool in December 2013. European stalwarts such as Louis van Gaal, Guus Hiddink and Fabio Capello were all touted as potential successors to the crouching Portuguese jack-in-a-box, who had suffered the same ignominious fate as many of his Spurs predecessors after failing to bring Champions League football to White Hart Lane. Yet it was Sherwood, a man who had enjoyed no previous first-team managerial experience, who was eventually handed the reins following a public vote of self-confidence and an impressive cameo as interim coach.
Despite his lack of manager credentials, Sherwood understands more than most about the mentality and character to succeed in the Premier League, having lifted the trophy as Blackburn Rovers captain in 1995. While not the most spectacular of central midfielders, Sherwood enjoyed a respectable career with a number of English clubs, notably Blackburn and Tottenham, the latter with whom he earned three international caps for England.
He was renowned for his hard work and his leadership qualities on the pitch, so much so that former Blackburn owner Jack Walker once famously said to Kenny Dalglish: "Why do you want to sign [Zinedine] Zidane when we have Tim Sherwood?"
Sherwood certainly appears to have carried that work ethic into his coaching career and he became part of Harry Redknapp's coaching staff at White Hart Lane in 2008 before later fulfilling the role of Tottenham's technical co-ordinator. In this capacity, Sherwood worked with a number of the club's development teams, tracking their progress and identifying future prospects. It was no surprise that he was heavily involved in Tottenham under-21's impressive run to the 2012-13 Barclays Under-21 Premier League final, where they surrendered a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to Manchester United.
Villas-Boas' dismissal in 2013 -- after a summer of optimism and big-spending -- highlighted the need for a candidate who understood the club's history and who could regain the fans' confidence with the return of attacking football and the promotion of youth. In a situation not too dissimilar to Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, albeit with a slightly less illustrious candidate, Sherwood was entrusted with the task despite his inexperience, and the early signs suggested that Daniel Levy's boldness could prove to be a stroke of genius. He may not have been the most glamorous ride on the managerial merry-go-round but Sherwood showed early on that he could give Tottenham fans that sense of thrill again -- even though he is a self-confessed Arsenal fan.
Despite a debut defeat to West Ham in the Capital One Cup, Sherwood slowly breathed new life into Tottenham, eradicating AVB's rigid defensive formation for a bolder, attacking-minded 4-4-2. Sherwood informed the Tottenham board that they would either have to hire him on a permanent basis or lose him altogether, and that sense of confidence and spirit seemed to infect the underperforming Tottenham players who rewarded him with a contract offer until 2015 when they impressively won 3-2 at Southampton.
Sherwood is clearly a man of strict principle and demonstrated that he is not afraid to make big decisions -- such as dropping 26 million pound striker Roberto Soldado and fellow summer signing Etienne Capoue. In fact, his recall of the forgotten Emmanuel Adebayor and the emergence of academy star Nabil Bentaleb were two of his early success stories -- with the former playing a key role in the re-ignition of Tottenham's top-four aspirations.
Much has been made of the lack of opportunity given to English managers in the Premier League these days and there is a growing expectation that a young English coach must prove himself in the lower divisions before being able to test himself on the elite stage. While it remains to be seen whether Sherwood will help Tottenham eclipse their North London rivals or march their way into the Champions League, the early signs suggest that it may be time to change that mentality.
Strengths: Sherwood has a proven track record of working with young players having previously brought the best out of Tottenham’s under-19 and under-21 team. As a player was known for having passion in abundance and appears to have retained that quality in his embryonic managerial career.
Weaknesses: Potentially difficult for him to gain full trust and respect of the players as he has never managed at the elite level before and to attract players to want to play under him.
Career High: Being handed the Tottenham reins on a permanent basis.
Career Low: Losing his first North London derby. Tottenham were ousted by Arsenal in the third round of the FA Cup after Sherwood was tactically outwitted by Arsene Wenger.
Tactics: Quickly nicknamed "Four-Four-Tim" because of his decision to overhaul Andre Villas-Boas’ system. In reality, there was little else he could do as the chairman and fans demanded a change and AVB had tinkered with all sorts of other formations. Despite a desire to play with more traditional wingers, he has shown some tactical flexibility with a willingness to play 4-3-3/4-5-1 when required.
Quotes: "The coach has told us to play with more freedom. He said it looked like we were a little bit afraid before. He said we shouldn't be afraid. He said we should just play and see that we are good. If we dare we have a really good team and really good chances. I think what you see now is how we should play,” Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen praises Sherwood’s impact.
Trivia: Sherwood was nicknamed “Slippery” in his playing days. Former Blackburn teammate Kevin Gallacher explains: “He was like an eel -- you never quite knew what he was up to and he was one of the big practical jokers around the place. If people had their clothes cut up or something left in hotel rooms, you could be sure Tim was involved."
Tottenham Hotspur Squad