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FA secures friendly with Croatia as curtain-raiser to Sam's reign

By Mark Ogden

Sam Allardyce will begin his reign as England manager with a Wembley friendly against Croatia on September 1.

Allardyce, who resigned his position as Sunderland boss in order to succeed Roy Hodgson last week, is due to launch England's World Cup qualification campaign against Slovakia in Bratislava three days later.

But with the former Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle, Blackburn and West Ham manager keen to work with his players before competitive action begins, the Football Association has now secured a friendly against the Croatians as preparation for the Slovakia game.

Allardyce (61) is set to be officially unveiled by the FA at St George's Park today.

Paul Clement, the Bayern Munich coach, will be appointed as a part-time member of Allardyce's backroom team, with Sammy Lee, who replaced Allardyce as Bolton manager in 2007, also due to be handed a role within the coaching set-up.

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