6 ways the Premier League can restore your love of football after Euro 2016


It's no secret that the football on display at Euro 2016 wasn't the finest we've seen at an international tournament.

Despite all the huge names and storied teams it was a negative Portugal that came out victorious, but they were by no means the only team at the Euros to sacrifice good football for the sake of survival. And we're not even going to talk about England's performance.

We won't be completely negative about the tournament, after all Wales and Iceland's performances will go down in European Championship history, but we're more than a little bit grateful the Premier League is returning. Here's how this season can restore your love of football.

1. Competent management

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri (right) gestures on the touchline
(Nick Potts/PA)

Belgium went into Euro 2016 as the best team in the world, although frankly did nothing to suggest they deserved the title. The team consisted of hugely talented individuals but unfortunately that's all they were, although the blame for that can't be laid solely at the players' doors.

Marc Wilmots, Belgium's since departed manager, had the job of gelling the team, identifying their strengths and weaknesses, and essentially pulling the strings. That didn't happen and, as a result, we saw nothing resembling a team performance.

But this Premier League season looks likely to have it all. Whether you're a fan of the tiki taka style Manchester City are likely to deploy, the defend at all costs strategy Tony Pulis is famed for, the catch-them-with-their-pants-down ethos of Claudio Ranieri's Leicester or the win by any means mentality exemplified by Jose Mourinho, have no doubt that the Premier League is full of competent managers and therefore competent teams.

2. The tournament's most exciting players

France's Dimitri Payet celebrates after the final whistle
(Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport)

Aside from Gareth Bale and Antoine Griezmann, almost all players responsible for creating a moment at the Euros ply their trade in the Premier League.

Think Dimitri Payet's last-minute screamer in the tournament's first game, Hal Robson-Kanu (who looks likely to complete a move to a top-tier team) leaving the Belgian defence for dead with one turn, or Eden Hazard's insistence that the ball is his and no one else can play with it.

Add to that Paul Pogba's return to the league, the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and the fact that pretty much every player who made last season so special has remained, and the likelihood of this season being at least as good as the last seems high.

3. The underdogs


Last season was the season of the underdog. We're sure you don't need reminding that Leicester won the league, Tottenham came very close to winning the league, West Ham pushed all the way for a Champions League place, Bournemouth and Watford finished comfortably in the table, and Jamie Vardy scored 24 league goals.

But we're here to tell you that this year an upset would be even bigger. World football's biggest managers have congregated in the Premier League, bringing with them more of the world's best players, while the likes of Burnley and Hull head into the season without major improvement.

Should either of them manage to compete and stay up, it's a huge achievement, while any of the traditionally mid-table sides who strengthened last season and continued to over the summer could provide another fairytale.

4. It's the often difficult second season for a few of last season's young stars


Dele Alli and later Marcus Rashford enjoyed a tremendous rise into the public consciousness last season following a number of captivating performances and goals, with both ending up in the England team we're still determined not to talk about.

It's their second season in the league now and it's sure to be a tougher test as teams and players adjust their strategies to deal with them. And, while that means there's a risk of them going off the boil slightly, both players have talent enough to come out of the other side stronger and more exciting than when we last saw them.

Harry Kane went through this last season during a campaign in which he finished as the first Englishman to win the golden boot since Kevin Phillips, and while it seems a bit outlandish to expect Rashford to do the same both, he and Alli can stand to learn from Kane's early season blip and then what happened afterwards. They have every opportunity to improve.

5. Jurgen Klopp's first full season at Liverpool

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp watches his team warm up during the pre-season friendly match at the DW Stadium
(Barry Coombs/PA)

With the arrival of Pep Guardiola, Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp's continued stay at Liverpool has been forgotten slightly.

His team have enjoyed a strong pre-season, completed some big signings and taken Klopp's philosophy and run with it.

The Liverpool of last season were exciting enough to watch, all energy and smiles, but this season promises to be something else completely. The focus being on Manchester City, Manchester United, and inevitably Leicester, Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea, will benefit Klopp hugely and fit into the narrative of the team's style of play.

And if you thought Liverpool looked dangerous last season, imagine them now with the added signings of Geoginio Wijnaldum, Marko Grujic and Sadio Mane.

6. Gary Neville's back

England assistant manager Gary Neville departs the team hotel in Chantilly
(Owen Humphreys/PA)

He may have "failed" in many people's eyes in the two coaching jobs he took last season, with Valencia and England, but those specific examples, in our opinion, don't detract from Gary Neville's worth as a pundit.

Many non-professionals have valid opinions and analysis when it comes to football, and just because Neville failed to apply the titbits of wisdom he regularly dropped while on punditry duty for Sky while managing Valencia doesn't make them any less true. Add to that the passion he brings to the job, enough passion that West Brom v Sunderland is a match you'd actually consider tuning into, and it's a good thing that Neville has returned.

And, if you just can't get over his performance while at the Mestalla Stadium don't worry - Jamie Carragher will give him enough stick for all of us.