Anthony Hudson is probably the best young English manager that you’ve never heard of. Son of the great Chelsea playmaker Alan Hudson, he was appointed as manager of the Bahrain national side whilst only 32-years-old.
The ex-Newport manager moved to Bahrain in March 2012 under the wing of Peter Taylor and brought immediate success to Bahrain’s under-23 and Olympics sides. His work did not go unnoticed and he was eventually given the nod to replace the sacked Gabriel Calderón as manager of Bahrain’s senior team recently.
Even the most cultured of English fans would struggle to sit and talk to you about football in the Gulf. This lack of knowledge, so Hudson says, has attached a negative stigma to players plying their trade there and ensured that many of them are overlooked by European sides:
‘’The level in the Gulf is very high and here in Bahrain there is a lot of talent and a great spirit which people overlook, the Gulf is certainly an untapped resource.
‘’I think more and more players are filtering their way into Europe but I do feel there is a slight ignorance towards football here. People don't really know about the level and that leads them to make ill-informed assumptions.
‘’This couldn’t have been made clearer in the U20 World Cup when Iraq did extremely well. The view in England was ‘we should walk all over this team’ - which I thought showed a huge lack of respect and arrogance. There are some excellent players out here and they are definitely overlooked.”
Players may not be the only people being overlooked in the Gulf region. Having obtained his UEFA ‘’A’’ License - the second highest European coaching qualification – at the tender age of 25, Hudson is arguably the hottest young English manager around.
His promise was quickly spotted by Harry Redknapp who, during Hudson’s time coaching at Tottenham, coined him ‘’a young José Mourinho’’. Hudson undoubtedly possesses a degree of Mourinho-esque charm but, having spent time with The Special One at Real Madrid last season, he insists the similarities stop there:
‘’I'm only interested in being my own man. As long as I can stay true to myself and keep growing and developing - I'm happy. Other things I don't really think about.
‘’I’ve learnt and taken from every manager I’ve met and worked with. I am so grateful that I’ve had the chance to be around some top managers and I’ve got so much from them.
“My debt to Harry [Redknapp] for giving me an opportunity and continued support is something I will never forget and it means a great deal to me.”
Whilst Hudson’s managerial career may be lacking the glitz and glamour of the Premier League, there is certainly one thing that it does not lack: ambition. Having followed Peter Taylor to Bahrain as a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed youngster, Hudson is now determined to return a successful international manager:
‘’I don’t have any plans on location for my next step; as long as the job is a progression I am happy. I can now speak Spanish and I’ve just started French so I’d like to be able to speak four languages which I am sure will open more doors for me.
‘’As long as I continue to learn, win and grow I will be happy. I am currently very content in Bahrain but the end goal is very clear: I want to be at the very top, Champions League, World Cups, Premier League, competing in one of the top leagues in the world – that’s my end goal.’’
With his ambition, experience and pedigree it is clear that Hudson has a sparkling managerial career ahead of him. But, back to the original question: where are all the good young English managers? The answer: overlooked in Bahrain as we dwell in our arrogance, apparently.
More on Anthony at anthonyhudson.com.