The search for a new England manager is over with the news that Sam Allardyce will become the next man to step into the Wembley hotseat. Official confirmation is still 24 hours away (Thursday) but it is believed there are no further hurdles for Allardyce to clear and he will be the man to fill the vacancy that was left by Roy Hodgson.
Many felt that Gareth Southgate was the man in waiting to take over from Hodgson but once the current Under 21 boss declared himself out of the running for the job the focus soon shifted to Sunderland manager Allardyce. He quickly became a favourite for most pundits and bookmakers and it then just seemed a case of not if but when he would become England manager.
The F.A. have acted quite quickly what with Hodgson’s departure only three weeks ago, they went on record by saying that they were prepared to take their time as long it meant getting the right person for the job and it seems that they have found their man sooner than expected.
Perhaps that was out of courtesy to Sunderland as they will now have to start their own search for a manager and with a Premier League season just weeks away it hasn’t come at and ideal time but at least it’s in pre-season and a new man has time to be installed before the opening day and more importantly bring players in before the end of the transfer window.
It wasn’t quite a foregone conclusion for Allardyce to get the job as both Steve Bruce and Jurgen Klinsmann were also interviewed for the post but once you got the feeling that it was going to be an English man installed at the helm then it was only going to be a two horse race and one that in all fairness Hull manager Bruce was never really in the running for.
The decision to give Allardyce the job means that he has finally been given an opportunity to undertake one of Football’s biggest job. He has long been an advocate of the fact that English coaches are overlooked so what better way to answer his critics then being given the role of managing the national side.
It could be quite a crucial appointment as if he gets this right then it opens the door for more English coaches who haven’t necessarily had a glittering club career to be considered for future opportunities but if he gets it wrong then the F.A. could revert to type and opt to search for more recognised candidates.
What will Allardyce bring to England? – firstly he will bring a system and more importantly an identity to the team. Yes it may not be the easiest on the eye but at least it will give the players that he calls up a sense of familiarity from game to game. You only had to look at Euro 2016 to see the difference in teams that played with and without systems, England vs Iceland being your perfect example.
Critics of Allardyce may spout cliches about 4-4-2 and hitting it into the mixer but that is perhaps unfair on him. He may not be the most tactically astute but it’s attention to detail in terms of prozone and sports science that has he clubs punching above their weight and hopefully he can England competing at theirs in a major tournament.
The biggest challenge may come with the intense media spotlight that this job will bring perhaps not for him but the scrutiny that the players will be under especially in their first World Cup qualifier against Slovakia in September. The quickest way to get the media back on side will be to get off to a winning start as football fans do have a tendency to have very short memories and should England get off to winning ways then it will go some way to erasing a miserale European Championships.
Best of luck Sam.