Middlesbrough are set to speak to both Garry Monk and Nigel Pearson over the next few days as their search for a new head coach hots up. Chief Sports Writer Scott Wilson looks at how the two leading candidates compare in some of the key managerial areas


EXPERIENCE

The Northern Echo:

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Monk: As the younger of the two candidates, Monk has only had two previous managerial jobs. His career in the dug-out started at Swansea City, and after a brief spell as player-manager, where he saved the Swans from the drop, he led the Welsh club to eighth in the Premier League in his only full season at the Liberty Stadium. He was dismissed in the following season, but returned to work at Leeds United last summer and was widely praised for his work as he led the Yorkshire club to the brink of the Championship play-offs. 6

Pearson: Fifteen years older than Monk, Pearson boasts much more experience, having presided over more than 350 matches in the top two divisions. His first spell at Leicester featured promotion to the Championship, and after a brief period at Hull, he re-joined the Foxes in 2011, guiding them to the Championship title three years later. He engineered a remarkable survival bid in the 2014-15 season, but was dismissed the following summer, with Claudio Ranieri going on to win the Premier League title at the King Power Stadium. His last role at Derby was unsuccessful. 8


LEADERSHIP QUALITIES

The Northern Echo:

Monk: The Leeds job can be one of the most challenging in football, but Monk held things together extremely successfully during his time at Elland Road. He is regarded as a level-headed operator, and was praised by the Leeds fans for the way in which he did not allow off-field difficulties to derail his work last season. He enjoyed a close relationship with Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins during his time in Wales and would be a respected figurehead at Boro. He is generally well-liked within the media. 8

Pearson: Volatility tends to follow Pearson around, and he has left a number of his former positions under a cloud. His first spell at Leicester featured a number of run-ins with Milan Mandaric, and he left the Foxes for a second time when the board claimed their working relationship was “no longer viable” in the wake of a controversial club tour to Thailand. He left Derby after a reported row with Rams chairman Mel Morris and has repeatedly clashed with members of the media in the past as well as opposition players and some of his own fans. 6


TRANSFER RECORD

The Northern Echo:

Monk: He was only in charge at Swansea for a little over a year-and-a-half, but Monk was still able to make some successful signings. His capture of Gylfi Sigurdsson from Tottenham was one of Swansea’s best pieces of transfer business in the whole of their Premier League existence, and the £5m signing of Kyle Naughton was another major success. At Leeds, Monk’s transfer business last summer was a major factor in the club’s successful season, with the purchases of Rob Green, Marcus Antonsson and Kemar Roofe proving especially astute. 7

Pearson: During his second spell at Leicester, Pearson was involved in two of the most successful transfers of the last decade, shelling out £1m to sign Jamie Vardy from Fleetwood and committing £560,000 to recruit Riyad Mahrez from Le Havre. It is debatable how much involvement Pearson had in those deals, with Leicester’s head of recruitment, Steve Walsh, extremely influential, but they are still impressive entries on his CV. His recruitment at Derby was much less successful as he squandered £12m on Matej Vydra and Ikechi Anya last summer. 8


MAN MANAGEMENT AND COACHING

The Northern Echo:

Monk: Man management is regarded as one of Monk’s biggest strengths, and Leeds’ players were queuing up to praise his work on the training ground for much of last season. A relatively recent graduate of the Pro Licence scheme, Monk is an advocate of cutting-edge technology and methods when it comes to his coaching. He is credited with transforming the career of Wilfried Bony in particular during his time at Swansea, and also helped Chris Wood finish last season as the Championship’s leading goalscorer. 8

Pearson: Rightly or wrongly, Pearson is generally considered to be much more ‘old-school’ than Monk in his approach. He tends to rule with more of an iron rod, and is not afraid to clash with his players if he feels it will produce the required results. He fosters a strong team ethic, although he was forced to deny he was a “bully” during his time at Leicester. His work on the training ground helped Leicester engineer their ‘great escape’, although it could be argued the team was still underperforming given their radical improvement under Claudio Ranieri the following season. 6


TACTICS

The Northern Echo:

Monk: Having learned the ropes at Swansea, where he espoused an attractive, possession-based style of play with high pressing, Monk continues to base his tactics around keeping hold of the ball. He modified things slightly last season, with Leeds going long on occasion to utilise Wood’s aerial strengths, but he continues to indulge talented play-makers such as Sigurdsson or Roofe. He tends to line his sides up in a 4-3-3 formation, with a key focus on the wide attackers, who are encouraged to break forward into goalscoring positions. 8

Pearson: In most of his jobs, Pearson has been a more pragmatic manager than Monk, adapting his tactics to suit his own squad and the threat posed by the opposition when required. It is much harder to pin down a ‘Nigel Pearson style’ than a Garry Monk one. His sides tend to play in a variation of a 4-4-2 formation, although there were times during Leicester’s great escape when he switched to 3-4-3 to get his side on the front foot. He tends to like aggressive central midfielders and does not usually select ball-playing defenders. 7


TOTALS: Monk 37 Pearson 35