After an embarrassing Euro 2016 performance for England the search for a new manager is well and truly on and whilst at first Gareth Southgate, in charge of the U-21, seemed the front-runner a new face has emerged carrying with him a host of supporters.
Sam Allardyce, to the disappointment of Sunderland fans, has been called by the Football Association to discuss the possible duty of him taking over the England hot seat.
Sam Allardyce may be the leader in organizing, team discipline and defensive stability but to the uncertainty of many England fans does he have the tactical astuteness and innovation to re-invent the England National team?
Yes to Sam
ü He’s English. The foreign route took previously with Fabio Capello and Sven Goran Eriksson failing to deliver anything decisive or remotely uplifting for the National team. Whilst Sam Allardyce isn’t going to win any plaudits for playing a highly expansive and attractive style his experience of the Premier League should convince us were in safe hands. Whilst there are another five managers going into the new season who are also English, Sam Allardyce seems the sensible choice. Although Eddie Howe played a nice brand of football with a reasonably inexpensive team last season, the tainted job could detriment his future, which would be a shame for such a young talented manger.
ü Grows minnows. What we have come accustomed to in his 15 years in the top flight is his constant ability to get the best out of what he’s got. When he was appointed as Sunderland boss in September, Sunderland sat 19th having took just three points from their opening eight games. In this short period of time he was able to use every ounce of experience and every sinew of knowledge to guide them away from the relegation zone and leave their rivals sunk desperately in 18th place.
He signed well during his spell their to, (Don’t worry I’m not stupid, I recognize you can’t buy players in international football), but this shows he understands the weaknesses in his squad and addresses them. A major concern that came during the Euro 2016 tournament was the fact Roy Hodgson had absolutely no clue on what was his best eleven and instead kept resorting to bringing every striker he had on off the bench. (We asked for bold Roy, but maybe try and be a bit subtler). There is no doubt that if appointed Sam Allardyce will have a plan that is well thought out and more convincing in its approach.
ü Instills Philosophy Quickly. With International football you are limited to just 2-3 months with your players. Getting to know your squad quickly is vital in competing effectively in big tournaments. As shown at Sunderland last season he can instill his tactics and a belief in a limited space of time.
ü Man Manager. As he’s stated himself, the man management side of coaching is his biggest asset. To revitalise a team after a tournament that has been labeled as “Embarrassing” and a “disgrace” is a big ask, but I’m sure Big Sam would be up to the task.
The need for an identity has been our downfall (with failing in big tournaments not counting). The Germans have got an identity of a highly creative attacking team, whilst the Spanish philosophy has always been to keep possession. However, both of these teams didn’t have their best tournament and were outshone by teams such as Iceland and Wales who whilst individually weren’t a match for the Spanish or Germans, collectively intrigued us with their incredible team spirit, organization and defensive stubbornness. All of the attributes listed are ones you would come to associate with Sam Allardyce, so there is no reason why he wouldn’t bring a positive identity, whether it is more hoof it forward than pretty five yard passes backwards and forwards, surely we want results more than pretty football after another disastrous performance in a major tournament.
No to Sam
X Style. As I’ve said style doesn’t get you results which is why Spain’s recent dominance has faded, but their will be those who want that attractive football, after being a major footballing nation we should do more.
X Lack of big game experience. Whilst he has bags of domestic experience he doesn’t have the experience of continental football- having only had a brief eight game Europa league stint with Bolton. He has never as a manger experienced the highly pressurized Champions League nights, where the eyes are firmly on you.
He has a wealth of knowledge competing against other English teams but does he have enough knowledge of other cultures to progress us towards that goal of competing above our expectation in big tournaments. I’m unsure?
X Never won anything. Football is all about getting the fans onside; one way to do this is excite them with a manager that has a clear pedigree of success. Oh dear. Sam Allardyce’s trophy cabinet lays home to more dust than it does trophies. The League of Ireland title for Limerick, and the Third Division at Notts County are the only trophies stored. Promotions via the playoff with Bolton and West Ham are the only other additions to a very bleak looking cabinet.
He clearly doesn’t have the Suave of a Jose Mourinho or the uniqueness of a Jürgen Klopp but neither is available, and if they were would definitely not be attracted to the England job. Sam Allardyce would be a great option to instill belief into a team that due to so many defensive insecurities have failed to reach their potential. His arrival would sort out a team that’s in need of leadership from a manager that knows what they are doing, His strong character is sure to back-up every decision made and won’t stay in the shadows should something go wrong.