Straight talk lands Sam Allardyce his England dream job
England will appoint Sam Allardyce as their next manager after a hugely impressive interview in which he committed himself to the development of future talent at all age levels and offered to work with a young English coach who could be his successor.
Allardyce has been the favoured candidate all along and his recruitment as Roy Hodgson's successor is expected to be rubber-stamped at a full board meeting of the governing body today.
The FA had been willing to pay £4m a year to their new manager but with Allardyce commanding £2m a year at Sunderland, the cost will be considerably less than that. Allardyce has easily seen off competition from Jurgen Klinsmann, the United States manager, and Hull City's Steve Bruce, and is thought to have struck a chord by telling the FA that England are not lacking top quality talent, which simply needs to be managed better.
It was thought that the FA was some distance away from putting a contract in front of Allardyce, who was at Hartlepool United's ground last night for a pre-season friendly with his Sunderland side which they won 3-0.
Allardyce was hugely disappointed to be overlooked for the position 10 years ago and feels the time is right to step away from the relentless demands of Premier League football and take up the international role.
The FA have felt the need to move quickly to confirm Allardyce's appointment, with Sunderland declaring publicly that the uncertainty created by the search for a successor has affected their attempts to prepare for the new Premier League season.
Sunderland have put former Everton and Manchester United boss David Moyes at the top of their possible replacements list.
Allardyce has shown a positive outlook on the work which has been undertaken to create the FA’s St George’s Park set-up.
Hodgson did not relocate to the Staffordshire base as a place of work and there has been no suggestion that his successor would, but Allardyce has always taken a dim view of the suggestion that it has been dumped somewhere inaccessible.
In his autobiography, he said that the governing body could have built a new national stadium next to Birmingham’s NEC, on St George’s Park’s doorstep, and saved themselves a fortune at the same time.
When interviewed in 2006, Allardyce also rejected the view of commentators who said that Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard were incapable of operating together in the same midfield. He told an interviewing panel made up of the FA’s Geoff Thompson, Trevor Brooking, David Dein, Dave Richards and Brian Barwick that the two should simply operate within a three-man midfield with a sitting midfielder behind them, giving each of them the flexibility to advance.
Allardyce felt the interview had gone very well but the job was given to Steve McClaren. To compound his disappointment, Allardyce’s Bolton played McClaren’s Middlesbrough on the night by which the two of them were to have heard if they had been given the job.
Martin Glenn, the FA’s chief executive, said that the new man must make concerted, innovative and “unashamed” use of sports psychology as he aims to build mental resilience in the face of the “world’s most intensely passionate” press.
“The British press, like it or not, are probably the most intensely passionate about the game in the world and that has a spill-over effect,” Glenn said.
“The consequence of that, however, is that people probably play not to make a mistake, as opposed to play to win.
“So the new manager has got to be someone who can inspire people to get the best out of themselves.
“He must also build resilience and unashamedly adopt the kind of psychological techniques that other sports and other football teams have done.
“And they must really inspire people so that when they put their England jersey on they play as well for England as they do for their club.”