England want an English manager? Sam Allardyce is the cream of the crop...
Three Lions legend Teddy Sheringham on why Allardyce is the man to take England forward towards the 2018 World Cup
I worked with Sam Allardyce at West Ham in 2014 and he has an incredible ability of getting players on side. He gets the lads working for him, they understand exactly what is needed in every role and he was always much respected in the dressing room. He will be able to bring a ‘club feel’ back to the international set-up and finally bring some joy back into playing for England. That’s key. The problem is his CV.
Fabio Capello came into the England set up with five Serie A trophies, two La Liga titles and a Champions League win to his name. Sven Goren Erikson had won league titles in Italy, Sweden and Portugal and had been in six major European cup finals with club sides before taking the helm. Sam’s CV doesn’t boast that level of achievement and that is a concern. But the FA panel in charge of appointing a manager wanted an Englishman and in that case Sam Allardyce is the best. He is up there above any other possible English candidate – so in that sense, he’s the right man for the job.
It has looked in recent tournaments that the England players aren’t enjoying their football on the international stage – whether it’s the pressure, or the intensity, or because they’re under such scrutiny. It shouldn’t be like that. That needs to be changed and Big Sam is certainly the type of manager that can do that.
He’ll have no problem whatsoever dealing with some of the potential big egos in the England dressing room either. He managed big names at Bolton like Jay-Jay Okocha, Nicolas Anelka and Youri Djorkaeff and you would expect these players would be confident enough to test a manager. But Allardyce thoroughly enjoyed working with the top guys – the bigger the better for Big Sam and he’s got 25 years of management experience under his belt.
There should have no problem reaching the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The qualifying set-up obviously isn’t as easy as it is for the European Championships, with only top spot guaranteed a place in the finals, but it should still be straightforward for this group of players.
Scotland are building a strong team, Slovakia proved a problem for England at Euro 2016 in their 0-0 draw, while Slovenia could prove a tough away day, but Malta and Lithuania should be walk overs. This should be plain sailing for England – although it’s not that easy for a new manager at any level. England are away to Slovakia, at home to Malta, and then away to Slovenia in their opening three games, and it’s important that Sam gets a good start. The last thing you want to do is start making life hard for yourself. Hopefully Sam can negotiate qualifying and get his England team playing the way he wants in the build up to the World Cup.
People are concerned about the style of football he plays – let’s just hope he plays winning football.