CAN ONE OF BOLTON’S FINEST SAVE THEM?

Daily Mail - - Sports - PETE JENSON

FER­NANDO HIERRO’S ap­point­ment as new Spain coach at least means there will be one Bolton leg­end at the World Cup. Sam Al­lardyce’s short­ened Eng­land stint might have meant he missed out on Rus­sia, but he did sign a 35-year-old Hierro in 2004. ‘I was for­tu­nate to work with him. He was world class and he was out­stand­ing in the year we fin­ished sixth and got into Europe,’ said Al­lardyce when nam­ing the Spa­niard (be­low) in his all-time Bolton XI. ‘It was his all-round-abil­ity, he was top qual­ity in ev­ery­thing. You name it, he was ex­cep­tional at it.’ Hierro is a Real Madrid leg­end but re­spected on both sides of the Cla­sico di­vide. He has a close re­la­tion­ship to play­ers, hav­ing pre­vi­ously been Spain’s foot­ball direc­tor. He can also, Zine­dine Zi­dane style, put his medals on the ta­ble. He won a tro­phy cab­i­net full at Real Madrid and scored 29 goals in 89 games for Spain — no de­fen­sive player has scored more. His per­son­al­ity and char­ac­ter also stand out. He led a play­ers’ re­volt at Real in 2003 when the dress­ing room got wind of Florentino Perez’s plans to sack Vi­cente del Bosque de­spite the fact the Span­ish man­ager had just won the league. In the sum­mer of 2003 Del Bosque cleared his desk out and cap­tain Hierro was also told to move on. His Real career had pro­duced five La Liga ti­tles and three Cham­pi­ons League wins. He is one of the first names on the team-sheet when Madrid sup­port­ers pick their all­time XI. The only con­cern for Spain is his lim­ited ex­pe­ri­ence as a No 1. He has been a No 2 at Real but his only spell as a man­ager, in charge of Oviedo, was brief. He failed to get the sec­ond-tier club pro­moted and left af­ter only one sea­son.

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