Belfast Telegraph

England have a huge chance of success: Big Sam

By Rory Dollard

Sam Allardyce finally landed his dream job as England manager yesterday and said: "It is time for us to deliver."

The 61-year-old lost out to Steve McClaren when he first applied for the role 10 years ago.

But Allardyce will take charge of the 2018 World Cup campaign after signing an initial two-year deal to replace Roy Hodgson, who resigned after the humbling exit from Euro 2016 at the hands of Iceland.

The Football Association's three-man selection panel - chief executive Martin Glenn, technical director Dan Ashworth and acting chairman David Gill - interviewed then Sunderland boss Allardyce last week and nominated him as the preferred candidate at a Wembley board meeting on Thursday.

With personal terms no stumbling block, the only issue was a compensation package for the Black Cats, whose eagerness to receive a sizeable pay-off saw negotiations linger and delayed the announcement until almost 4pm, after which a graphic proclaiming 'Sam Allardyce - New England Manager' adorned the side of the national stadium.

But the hard work has really just begun.

The Three Lions departed France at a low ebb, with Hodgson's hopes reduced to dust as the country's major tournament travails recurred with a last-16 defeat by underdogs Iceland.

Allardyce, who rescued Sunderland from a seemingly hopeless position when he arrived on a fire-fighting mission last season - the club pointedly failing to thank him for his efforts in a statement issued yesterday - has outlined his positivity for both the challenge and the tools at his disposal.

"I am extremely honoured to be appointed England manager especially as it is no secret that this is the role I have always wanted. For me, it is absolutely the best job in English football," he said.

"We have to make the people and the whole country proud.

"While my main focus will be on the senior team, I want to add my influence to the great work being done across the development teams.

"I know we have talented, committed players and it is time for us to deliver."

In their search for Hodgson's successor, Glenn, Gill and Ashworth also interviewed Steve Bruce, who left his job with Hull yesterday, and considered Eddie Howe and Jurgen Klinsmann.

In confirming the appointment, the FA made what seemed an early rebuttal to Allardyce's detractors, noting he "arrives with a proven track record of getting the best results out of the teams he has managed and a strong reputation as a forward-thinker".

Allardyce - who started his managerial career with Limerick in the League of Ireland - will select his first squad towards the end of August, with a Wembley friendly against as yet unnamed opponents on September 1 and the opening World Cup qualifier in Slovakia three days later.

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