Sam’s big night not the stuff dreams are made of
5 things we learnt from the new England manager’s first match
So England’s bright, new future under Sam Allardyce started with a laboured 1-0 win over Slovakia in their opening World Cup qualifier on Sunday.
Here’s what we learnt from Big Sam’s first game in charge...
Same old England
It was hardly surprising that England looked as disjointed as they were at Euro 2016, given that Big Sam started with eight of the players who played in that defeat to Iceland. They had a bit more shape, but some of the passing, particularly in the first 60 minutes was woeful.
The role of a captain in modern-day football is a debatable one. But you still need someone on the big dragging the players along, riling them up, trying to instill some fire and passion in them.
There’s none of that in this England team. Wayne Rooney isn’t that character. Great player, but he’s no leader. But then there’s nobody else to take on the armband. Often at times it looked like the players were too scared to talk to each other.
No Plan B
The problem with this England squad is there’s few options available to the manager. All the players are much the same. The closest thing they have to a genuine goalscorer is Jamie Vardy, yet against an ageing Slovakia he was sat on the bench. All the other forward options are the same – they all want to be on the ball dictating play but there’s no one getting on the end of that play. Summed it up when Sam sent on roadrunner Theo Walcott to try and change the game…
Is Sam a man to gamble?
On the one hand, the fact Allardyce picked virtually the same team that lost to Iceland is rather worrying. What happened to changing things up? Not being afraid to make big calls?
However, on the other does he really have any options?
The sad thing is, other than Ross Barkley, the players on duty are probably the best English players at his disposal – and that’s worrying.
Lallana could shine under Sam
One of the few positives in Slovakia was the performances of attacking midfielder Adam Lallana.
The Liverpool man was busy throughout the match as he was given licence to roam the pitch by the new England boss.
He was England’s only real goal threat and his performance merited his winning goal.
There’s questions over his best position, but if Allardyce allows him a free role, Lallana could become a key player for England.
1. SAME OLD ENGLAND
2. NO LEADERS