,s Big Sam big test

Prospects as Eng­land man­ager… DANNY RUST weighs up Sam Al­lardyce’s

Late Tackle Football Magazine - - ENGLAND -

SAM Al­lardyce is fac­ing his big­gest chal­lenge as he takes the Eng­land reins – and tries to win over the doubters.

Af­ter Roy Hodg­son’s ten­ure ended in ig­nominy with de­feat against Ice­land in the Eu­ros, many will ques­tion whether Big Sam is the right man for the job for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons - though the FA hardly had a host of big names to choose from. The FA’s first choice, Arsene Wenger, was in­ter­ested in the job but was un­will­ing to break his con­tract with Arse­nal. It would have been ridicu­lous had Eng­land gone through with play­ing half of their qual­i­fy­ing cam­paign for the 2018 World Cup un­der a care­taker man­ager.

When it then be­came clear that the FA’s three-man panel – made up of Martin Glenn, Dan Ash­worth and David Gill – were look­ing to ap­point an English­man, Big Sam was the ob­vi­ous can­di­date for a job seen by many as a poi­soned chal­ice.

With a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence and a num­ber of back­ers, in­clud­ing Sir Alex Fer­gu­son, Al­lardyce was ap­pointed Eng­land boss a decade af­ter Steve McClaren beat the exBolton Wan­der­ers boss to the top job.

His ap­point­ment may have been cheered most by a cou­ple of play­ers in East Lon­don. Andy Car­roll, who Al­lardyce signed for West Ham dur­ing his reign at the Bo­leyn Ground, must see this as his best chance of break­ing back into the Eng­land side af­ter nu­mer­ous in­juries ham­pered his prospects. Ham­mers cap­tain Mark No­ble, who is surely one of the best un­capped English­men cur­rently in the Premier League, was one of Al­lardyce’s go-to men at Up­ton Park and so the like­li­hood of the 29-yearold fi­nally win­ning his first cap has been in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly. Al­lardyce will not be afraid to go against tra­di­tions or the opin­ions of the me­dia. Dur­ing his play­ing ca­reer, he was a huge fan of Frank Wor­thing­ton and the new Eng­land boss failed to un­der­stand how Wor­thing­ton only won eight caps for his coun­try. Al­lardyce la­belled it “a scan­dal”. The for­mer Black­burn Rovers boss also noted: “Eng­land has a sorry his­tory of marginal­is­ing flair play­ers. We al­ways pre­ferred the work ethic over skill.” Ever­ton mid­fielder Ross Barkley is one player that has been un­lucky not to win more Eng­land caps in re­cent times, with Hodg­son pre­fer­ring the safe op­tion of James Mil­ner on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions to the flair and un­pre­dictabil­ity of Barkley. With Al­lardyce at the helm, per­haps more play­ers like Barkley and Dele Alli will be given li­cence to play in ex­actly the same way they do at club level.

The FA and Eng­land fans alike will be hop­ing that the for­mer Sun­der­land boss will give the na­tional team a sense of iden­tity.

Un­der Hodg­son, Eng­land’s start­ing XI and for­ma­tion were likely to change ev­ery game, with stars de­manded to play out of po­si­tion and the team go­ing into the game seem­ingly only with a Plan A and no Plan B. If Al­lardyce is to suc­ceed then this has to change.

Scores of Eng­land fans may have the opin­ion that Al­lardyce is too de­fen­sive-minded. But it is clear that Eng­land’s de­fence cer­tainly needs im­prov­ing - be­cause the Three Lions’ back four was hope­less at cer­tain stages of this sum­mer’s Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships. Al­lardyce would be right to look for a way of shoring up the de­fence.

Al­lardyce has of­ten been crit­i­cised for his sides reg­u­larly us­ing long balls to try and un­lock op­po­si­tion de­fences, and some ex­pected him to miss out on the Eng­land job be­cause of his style of play.

But Big Sam has reg­u­larly dis­re­garded the long ball tag as an ex­cuse by op­po­nents.

When the FA an­nounced the Eng­land DNA last year, it read: “Eng­land teams aim to in­tel­li­gently dom­i­nate pos­ses­sion se­lect­ing the right mo­ments to progress the play and pen­e­trate the op­po­nent.”

Dressed to im­press: New Eng­land boss Sam Al­lardyce Mark No­ble

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.