To coach them is their real test, to train them is their cause.

Imagining football managers as Pokemon trainers: Guardiola, Mourinho, Ancelotti…

If you’re not quite old enough to remember the halcyon days of the Pokemon craze, fear not — this article is your gateway drug… your gateway hyper potion, you might say.

Football managers, like Pokemon trainers, tend to favour a certain style or strategy in their teams. You’ve got your counter-attackers, your bug catchers, your possession heads, your hikers, your gegenpressers, and that lad near Mt. Moon who’s obsessed with shorts…

We thought it’d be fun to imagine what some of the game’s most prominent managers would be like if they were Pokemon trainers, and what Pokemon they’d be carrying around in little spherical prisons. We’re keeping it to the original 151, if that’s ok with you?

Nerdiest thing we’ve ever written, this…

Jose Mourinho

Cloyster, Onix, Blastoise, Lapras, Snorlax, Machamp

The Special One is sitting back, letting you take swings at his team, letting you tire yourself out. Cloyster’s soaking up hits, Onix is weathering storms, Snorlax, Blastoise, and Lapras are an impenetrable midfield barricade.

Mourinho sends Machamp out when the opposition are all out of PP. Big f*cking karate chop to the noggin. 1-0 to The Special ‘Mon.

Carlo Ancelotti

Mewtwo, Squirtle, Surfing Pikachu, Articuno, Moltres, Zapdos

Don Carlo, as we all know, is a vibe master. Give him the big hitters and he’s making them feel good, getting a tune out of exceptional individuals. Carlo has got the legendary birds working in harmony, and he’s tamed Mewtwo without even having to use his Master Ball.

He’s brought Surfing Pikachu in purely to keep things fun, and he’s got that Squirtle with the pointy sunglasses from the Squirtle Squad. Carlo’s got matching shades. Mewtwo’s on the cigars.

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Sean Dyche

Graveller, Diglett, Rhyhorn, Primeape, Muk, Kangaskhan

Mud, rock, earth, fighting. That’s what you should expect when you set foot in Dychey’s Pokemon gym. Diglett is in there to help him search for earthworms to munch on mid-battle.

It’s entirely possibly that Dychey was raised in the goopy pouch of a Kangaskhan. Poking his little disc beard out for a bit of fresh air.

Pep Guaridola

Eevee, Ditto, Alakazam, Hypno, Arbok, Pinsir

If you’re going to play for Pep Guardiola, you’re going to have to be adaptable. Whether you’re Josko Gvardiol playing as a left-wingback, Bernardo Silva as a false ‘9’, or Jack Grealish turning down the joy and flair in order to play 5-yard backward passes every time he’s faced with a defender. Step forward Eevee and Ditto.

You’re also going to have to be able to play that hypnotic, metronomic style of football that Pep enjoys, lulling your opponent into a sense of drowsiness before striking. Poisoning them, wearing them down, waiting for a weakness. Alakazam, Hypno, Arbok — you’re in.

Pep also has a striker, right now, who goes through little spells of missing everything, but when he hits the target, it’s usually fatal for the opposition, like Pinsir with that Guillotine attack.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola during their game against Stoke City at bet365 Stadium, Stoke on Trent, August 2016.

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every player Pep Guardiola has signed for £10m+?

Unai Emery

Zubat, Zubat, Zubat, Zubat, Zubat, Zubat

Because he’s a vampire, innit.

Jurgen Klopp

Pidgeot, Scyther, Rapidash, Tauros, Gyarados, Raichu

Traditionally, Kloppo is all about gegenpressing, thrashing, all-action, heavy metal football. That mean’s we’re looking for speed, power, aggression, and excitement. We reckon he’d go for these ultra-attacking speed merchants, much like he has with his Liverpool team.

Mo Salah has big Gyarados energy. He was a little Magikarp at Chelsea, went away and grew at Roma, came back to England a big f*cking Gyarados.

Gareth Southgate

Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle, Rattata, Pidgey, Caterpie

Southgate has picked the first six Pokemon he’s come across and just blindly stuck with them, no matter what. Fiercely loyal. They don’t evolve because he’s so emotionally tied to them.

Came close to beating a few gym leaders but never quite cracked it because he keeps picking Caterpie over the Dragonite he’s got stored in his PC Box. He insists that Caterpie is a leader in the dressing room.

Probably stretched that metaphor as far we can, haven’t we?