Belfast Telegraph

New England boss Sam Allardyce faces grilling by media for first time

By Mark Mann-Bryans

England manager Sam Allardyce believes he is now the right man in the right job at the right time.

The 61-year-old was appointed as Roy Hodgson's successor last week and will come up against the English press pack on Monday morning for the first time since being handed the reins.

Having been overlooked a decade ago, the former Bolton, Newcastle, Blackburn, West Ham and Sunderland manager has finally landed the big one.

"For me, with my experience, I think it's the right time," he said as he was finally confirmed by the FA after discussing his severance from Sunderland.

"I think I'm at the right age, with the right experience and hopefully I can pass my knowledge and experience on to the team and the staff working behind the team."

There will be plenty for Allardyce to answer when he walks into the packed press room at St George's Park. Will Wayne Rooney remain as captain? Who will make up his backroom staff? Will he keep faith in the majority of players who so badly underperformed at Euro 2016?

Allardyce himself may not know the answers to all of those questions when he takes his seat.

But he has always had a presence when talking to the media, commanding the flow of conversation expertly away from areas he does not particularly want to be led.

Despite those questions and whether they are addressed sufficiently, one query will be looming as the elephant in the room, and it is one that he will need to answer.

That is the style of play Allardyce will instil into his side - with worries that he will turn England into a team full of long-ball merchants.

The former hard-hitting defender bristles at such suggestions that have plagued his managerial career, but one thing he does not lack is self-belief.

"I should have got it", he said in his autobiography about his interview for the England post in 2006.

"As I'm a better manager now than I was then, believe I should be in the running whenever it comes round again.

"That's not vanity or being full of my own importance. My track record entitles me to be considered".

And he was more than considered, he was interviewed and chosen, unanimously, as the man to replace Hodgson - now his first test is to give a strong performance at his official unveiling.

Belfast Telegraph


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