I fear ‘Big Sam’ has lit­tle idea

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - World Of Sport - Chief sports writer Alan Swann shares his views

Noth­ing I saw on Sun­day af­ter­noon changed my mind about Eng­land hav­ing a blither­ing id­iot in charge of the na­tional team. In fact Sam Al­lardyce started spout­ing his non­sense in the build-up to the game by sug­gest­ing a draw away to Slo­vakia would have been an ac­cept­able re­sult.

Yes that’s right, if Adam Lal­lana hadn’t poked the ball though a goal­keeper’s legs in the 95th-minute ‘Big Sam’ would still have been happy.

Slo­vakia are the West Brom of Euro­pean foot­ball, but with less at­tack­ing threat. They are or­gan­ised de­fen­sively, but lack am­bi­tion.

In short a team of mul­ti­mil­lion­aires should brush them aside with con­temp­tu­ous ease, as I’m sure Eng­land would have done with a Jur­gen Klopp or an An­to­nio Conte in charge.

But in­stead, the no-mark Eng­land se­lec­tion panel have lum­bered us with Al­lardyce, a man drummed out of mod­est West Ham be­cause of his Dark Age brand of foot­ball. Eng­land’s tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor Dan Ash­worth ap­pointed Ade ‘Hoof­ball’ Boothroyd to man­age Eng­land Un­der 20s so at least he’s con­sis­tent.

Al­lardyce’s sup­port­ers (most are Bolton-based) claim he is ac­tu­ally a vi­sion­ary. Ap­par­ently he was way ahead of his time in terms of data anal­y­sis and diet.

Sadly in terms of team se­lec­tion Al­lardyce is less am­bi­tious and less in­no­va­tive. He picked most of the play­ers who had been abysmal against Slo­vakia a cou­ple of months ear­lier.

It’s a sign of mad­ness not ge­nius to keep do­ing the same things and ex­pect dif­fer­ent re­sults as Al­bert Ein­stein, (or was it Jose Mour­inho?), said.

Al­lardyce (right) picked Jor­dan Hen­der­son to start even though the soon-to-be Liver­pool re­serve has a worse first touch than Carl­ton Palmer and less pass­ing abil­ity than Nobby Stiles.

Or maybe Wayne Rooney picked Hen­der­son? Al­lardyce ap­pears to be in thrall of his skip­per. Even stat­ing af­ter the game that the fad­ing Manch­ester United star was told to ‘play any­where you want’.

You what? The Eng­land man­ager is hand­somely re­warded to make those sort of de­ci­sions. Rooney is not the best player in the team any more (if he ever was) and in­dulging his (se­ri­ously mis­guided) be­lief that he can pass like Glenn Hod­dle is a huge er­ror by the man­ager.

Build your team around some­one al­ready good, but with de­cent po­ten­tial to im­prove, like Dele Alli, not a player who (again self-in­dul­gently) has de­cided he will re­tire af­ter the World Cup in Rus­sia.

Of course Eng­land will reach Rus­sia be­cause qual­i­fi­ca­tion is so easy, Gra­ham West­ley would be hard pressed to cock it up.

But will Eng­land be any good when they get there? It’s very doubt­ful with Al­lardyce in post.

At least he’s stopped Harry Kane tak­ing cor­ners, although get­ting him to re­mem­ber how to score goals would be a far more im­pres­sive feat of coach­ing.

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