Danny Murphy has urged Chelsea to give Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe a chance to prove himself at the top level by giving him the manager’s job at Stamford Bridge.
The 38-year-old has earned plaudits for turning the Cherries from Football League also-rans to Championship winners, and guiding the club to top flight promotion for the first time in their history.
Many tipped Bournemouth for an immediate return to the second tier, but they have shown real spirit this season and have a great chance to avoid the drop with the south coast side currently 13 points clear of the bottom three.
Italy manager Antonio Conte, 46, remains favourite for the Chelsea job, with interim boss Guus Hiddink unlikely to stay on as boss past the end of this campaign.
But Danny Murphy believes appointing Howe could be a masterstroke from the Blues.
He told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast: “I’m going to upset Bournemouth fans here because I rate Eddie Howe so highly that if I was a big club, like Chelsea, I would go for him. That big a job.
“I would just let him get on with it, bring through the youth players and do his thing.
“Although he’s young and some people might say he’s not ready and he’s not managed a big club, he’s managed successfully and has done brilliantly to get Bournemouth to where they are now.
“But it’s not just his tactics and the way he’s got Bournemouth playing, it’s also the way he conducts himself and the way he talks.
“He’s very well liked, very bright, articulate and he’s English. I would certainly give him an opportunity if I was a bigger club.”