Allardyce to be new England manager

20 Jul

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New England boss must ‘build resilience’

Sam Allardyce will be named as the new England manager – with confirmation expected in the next 24 hours.

Allardyce will leave Sunderland after nine months at the Premier League club.

The 61-year-old replaces Roy Hodgson, who resigned after the surprise defeat by Iceland at this summer’s Euro 2016 finals in France.

Allardyce, a former West Ham, Newcastle and Bolton boss, spoke to the Football Association last week and has been chosen ahead of Hull’s Steve Bruce.

The only remaining issue to be settled is compensation to Sunderland, with Allardyce having a year left on his contract at the Stadium of Light.

The club issued a statement on Wednesday, saying it was “aware of the intense media speculation”, but that Allardyce remained in charge “at the present time”.

It added: “We share in the anger and frustration of our supporters and would like to assure them that we are working to conclude the matter in the best interests of Sunderland AFC.”

Allardyce was present as Sunderland beat Hartlepool 3-0 in a pre-season friendly on Wednesday, but left before full-time.

The FA board meets on Thursday, when it is expected Allardyce’s appointment will be officially confirmed.

Both Sunderland and Hull had urged the FA to act quickly, with the new Premier League season less than a month away.

Allardyce was interviewed for the England job following Sven-Goran Eriksson’s departure after the 2006 World Cup but Steve McClaren was appointed.

His first competitive game in charge will be a World Cup qualifier in Slovakia on 4 September.

Allardyce will become the 15th permanent England boss, the pinnacle of a managerial career that started at Blackpool in 1994 and has taken in 467 Premier League games – behind only Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and Harry Redknapp.

He has never won a major trophy but did secure promotion to the Premier League with both Bolton and West Ham, and won Division Three with Notts County in 1998.

As a player, Allardyce started at Bolton in the 1970s before spells at Sunderland, Millwall, Coventry, Huddersfield, West Brom, Irish club Limerick and US side Tampa Bay Rowdies before ending his career at Preston.

Allardyce, pictured in the Sunderland dug-out against Hartlepool on Wednesday, enjoyed his best Premier League finish of sixth, with Bolton in 2004-05<!–

Allardyce, pictured in the Sunderland dug-out against Hartlepool on Wednesday, enjoyed his best Premier League finish of sixth, with Bolton in 2004-05

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe and USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann had also been linked with the job.

Allardyce has been chosen by a three-man FA panel of chief executive Martin Glen, technical director Dan Ashworth and vice-chairman David Gill, who said they were seeking a strong-minded, tactically savvy manager who could build a clear team identity.

Glenn also told BBC sports editor Dan Roan earlier on Wednesday that the new manager would need to “build resilience” in players so they are able to deal with criticism on social media and the pressures of an “intensely passionate” English media.

“The British press, like it or not, are probably the most intensely passionate about the game in the world and that has a spill-over effect,” he said.

“The consequence of which is people probably play not to make a mistake, as opposed to play to win.

“So the new manager’s got to be someone who can inspire people to get the best out of themselves, build resilience and unashamedly adopt the kind of psychological techniques that other sports and other football teams have done.”

Sunderland will now be looking for a ninth permanent manager in less than eight years.

Key facts & figures

  • Allardyce has never won a major trophy as a manager
  • He has a 33.6% Premier League career win percentage
  • Sunderland’s average possession last season was 39.94%
  • 21% of their passes were ‘long’, compared with 14.4% at Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth
  • Sunderland were seven points adrift of safety at the start of January – but lost just one of final 11 games to escape relegation

Allardyce on management

  • “I don’t think there is any coach more sophisticated than me any more” – as West Ham manager, February 2015
  • “I would be more suited to Inter Milan or Real Madrid… I would win the double or the league every time” – as Blackburn boss in September 2010
  • “Maybe my external look isn’t to everybody’s liking. It was the right time and the right job for me but not from the FA’s point of view” – in 2009, on missing out on the England job three years earlier

Reaction

Former Norwich, Blackburn, Chelsea and Celtic striker Chris Sutton on BBC Radio 5 live: “I’m delighted because I’ve been fed up with fantasy football – you’ve got to be a realist. Football is about winning. If you win by being direct or by playing a possession game it doesn’t matter.

“Sam has never been given an opportunity at a top, top club to win a title but has done a terrific job wherever he has been. He will get the best out of the tools at his disposal – that’s the most important thing.”

Ex-Blackpool and England player Jimmy Armfield: “I signed him as a player when I was manager of Bolton. He was a fighter and he’s still prepared to scrap.

“I think he will try to instil some what I call ‘club confidence’. He will get a team spirit, get the dressing room right.”

Former Leicester striker and BBC pundit Steve Claridge: “I don’t think the bar is particularly high. It’s a sensible appointment. People will have question marks about things but he just has to get them set up properly and give the players a chance.”

Leeds United goalkeeper Rob Green, who played under Allardyce at West Ham, said: “He’s a cute manager and will be able to adapt. He’s always said, ‘I can manage England and I will adapt to that’.”

Sunderland and Allardyce travelled to Hartlepool for a pre-season friendly on Wednesday - as the news broke<!–

Sunderland and Allardyce travelled to Hartlepool for a pre-season friendly on Wednesday – as the news broke
Hull City player Alex Bruce is the son of Steve Bruce - who was also interviewed for the job<!–

Hull City player Alex Bruce is the son of Steve Bruce, who was also interviewed for the job
Allardyce was assistant manager at Preston North End when Kevin Kilbane was in the youth team at Deepdale<!–

Allardyce was assistant manager at Preston North End when Kevin Kilbane was in the youth team at Deepdale

Analysis

BBC Radio 5 live football commentator John Murray:

“It is a realistic appointment based on England’s performance at tournaments. Constant disappointment, getting so far and no further.

“Time has been of the essence because of Sunderland’s position, because of England’s position as well – they play matches right at the start of September.

“Martin Glenn, Dan Ashworth and David Gill have proceeded just about as quickly as it was possible to do and I feel this is a realistic appointment for where England are.

“I think Martin Glenn, in the aftermath of Roy Hodgson stepping down, gave a clear idea and indication that when it came to the salary for the new manager, it would be heavily performance-related. I would expect that to be the case.”

England’s next fixture is their opening World Cup 2018 qualifier against Slovakia on Sunday, 4 September.
If Allardyce is in charge, who would be in his starting line-up?

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