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Who could be Watford's next manager?

:Headline: Who could be Watford's next manager?:
Following the news that Roy Hodgson will depart at the end of the season, Sports Mole takes a closer look at who Watford could look to appoint as their next manager.
Sports Mole

Following the confirmation on Wednesday that Watford boss Roy Hodgson will not continue as the club's manager next season, a new name will be in the Vicarage Road hotseat once again for the 2022-23 campaign.

Bar a mathematical miracle, the new boss will take over the Hornets in the Championship, with the side currently 12 points from Premier League safety with only four games left to play this season.

The search for next season's manager has already begun and the club hierarchy are stepping up their efforts to narrow down their list of targets to a shortlist with the view to making a swift appointment.

After appointing 74-year-old Hodgson on a six-month deal back in January, the Pozzo family have named 15 permanent managers since taking over the club in 2012.

Here, Sports Mole takes a closer look at who the Watford owners could look to appoint ahead of an expected promotion push in the Championship for the 2022-23 season.

Sean Dyche

After being sacked by Burnley back in April following nine and a half years at the club, Sean Dyche is likely to be linked with a host of clubs looking for a new manager this summer.

At the top of list is sure to be Dyche's former side Watford, who the 50-year-old previously managed during the 2011-12 season, as well as featuring for the side as a player for three seasons between 2002 and 2005.

Dyche was actually sacked by the Pozzo family, who had recently taken over, having led the Hornets to an 11th-placed finish in the Championship, which was the club's highest finish for four years at the time.

Having earned promotion to the Premier League with Burnley on two separate occasions during his stay at Turf Moor, the former Clarets boss is sure to be on the wishlist of many Championship clubs this summer.

John Eustace

A second potential candidate for the Vicarage Road hotseat is another former player, with current Queens Park Rangers assistant manager John Eustace being heavily linked with the role.

The 42-year-old has strong links to Watford after making 168 appearances for the club during a six-year stay between 2007 and 2013, and has surged to the top of many bookmakers' list of favourites to be the next permanent boss of the Hornets.

Currently employed as an assistant to current boss Mark Warburton with QPR in West London, Eustace has just one year left on his current deal at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.

However, with Warburton set to depart the Championship side at the end of the season, it remains to be seen what the future holds for Eustace at this stage.

Prior to his role alongside the former Brentford, Rangers and Nottingham Forest boss, Eustace managed National League side Kidderminster Harriers between 2016 and 2018, registering a win percentage of 53.4 as he led the club to back-to-back playoff campaigns.

Eustace also worked under former England boss Steve McClaren at QPR, and currently works with the Republic of Ireland as Stephen Kenny's assistant with the national side.

Liam Manning

Despite not being heavily backed with many bookmakers at this stage, MK Dons boss Liam Manning is another name being monitored by the Watford hierarchy.

The 36-year-old has enjoyed an impressive first campaign in charge in England, leading the Dons to the League One playoffs after narrowly missing out on automatic promotion to the Championship.

Although Watford are keen to push ahead with a swift appointment as they begin to plan ahead for next season, any potential talks with Manning and his representatives would have to be put on hold until the end of the playoffs at least.

Manning leads his side to take on Wycombe Wanderers in the first leg of the semi-finals on Thursday, before returning to the Stadium MK for the second leg on Sunday evening.

Should the third-tier outfit achieve promotion to the Championship, it is unlikely that the Englishman would make the move to Vicarage Road given they would be playing in the same division next season.

However, should MK Dons fail in their promotion goal, it remains to be seen what the future holds for their boss with many sides said to be impressed by his record and style of play this campaign.

Wayne Rooney

Another young English manager with plenty of suitors is Derby County manager Wayne Rooney, having impressed significantly during a turbulent campaign at Pride Park.

The former Manchester United striker shrugged off interest from boyhood club Everton in January, before the Merseysiders turned to Frank Lampard instead.

The 36-year-old stayed loyal to the Rams despite the ongoing financial struggles on a daily basis, which left Rooney with little to no budget to work with, and a squad made up of youngsters and out-of-contract players signed on temporary deals.

Despite this, and the total 21-point deduction placed on the club, Rooney has enjoyed some miraculous results during the 2021-22 campaign, although they were not quite enough to save them from relegation to League One.

With so much uncertainty still surrounding the future of the club whilst it remains in administration and on the search for a new owner, Rooney may finally call time on his days at Derby as he goes in search of a new challenge for the next stage of his managerial career.

Should Rooney be available, now boasting a full season of Championship football under his belt, plenty of sides are sure to be interested in appointing the England and Man United legend this summer.

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