Sam Allardyce ahead of Jurgen Klinsmann in England job race
Sam Allardyce is set to speak to the Football Association about the England manager's job this week, with United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann now the only serious rival for the 61-year-old to become Roy Hodgson's successor.
With Hodgson resigning in the wake of England's Euro 2016 last 16 exit against Iceland two weeks ago, the FA are understood to be determined to end uncertainty over the manager's position by making an appointment before the end of this month.
And Sunderland boss Allardyce, currently in the Austrian Alps with his squad for pre-season preparations, is the only English candidate being considered by the three-man FA panel of chief executive Martin Glenn, technical director Dan Ashworth and vice-chairman David Gill.
Allardyce's claims to the job have been strengthened by Sir Alex Ferguson laying out the case for his appointment to Gill, the Manchester United chief executive during the final decade of Ferguson's reign as manager. There is also a belief within the FA that Allardyce's willingness to be a collaborative manager is a strong positive.
While Klinsmann's work with the USA, and previously as Germany coach between 2004 and 2006, has earned him admirers within the FA, the German's reputation for being a demanding and abrasive figure is likely to hamper his prospects.
Klinsmann, who has two years left to run on his USA contract, has fallen out with US Soccer Federation President Sunil Galati and Don Garber, the Commissioner of the MLS, and he also left his role as Bayern Munich coach in 2009 after less than a year in charge due to high-profile disagreements with the club's hierarchy.
And although Klinsmann's success in promoting youth has been a key factor in his time with Germany and the USA, Allardyce's readiness to remain loyal to the FA's coaching programme at St George's Park, and to appoint a domestic coach to his team, outweighs Klinsmann's work with Germany and the US.
Ashworth, the man charged with implementing the FA's DNA programme relating to the development of English coaches and under-age teams, wants an appointment who will demonstrate a clear pathway for those young coaches aiming to further their career. And Allardyce, having coached and managed domestically for over 20 years, is regarded as being the best qualified Englishman to take the job on.
The former Bolton boss impressed when interviewed for the job in 2006, before losing out to Sven-Goran Eriksson's assistant, Steve McClaren.
Allardyce's DVD presentation at the time, in which he highlighted the value of performance data and team ethic, has since become the norm for coaches and managers in the Premier League.
Meanwhile, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has admitted he would be prepared to consider the England job - but only once his contract at the Emirates expires next year.
Wenger, who will celebrate 20 years in charge of Arsenal in September, is out of contract at the Emirates at the end of next season and has yet to commit to a new deal at the club.
The Frenchman is regarded as an ideal candidate for the England job by Glenn, but an initial readiness within the FA to appoint an interim manager in order to wait for Wenger has now subsided with the realisation that a permanent appointment is the most sensible option so as not to jeopardise England's hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. But Wenger (left) admitted he is no longer averse to managing England
"Could I manage England? Why not?" Wenger said. "I would never rule that out, but I am happy in club football.
"England is my second country. I was absolutely on my knees when England went out against Iceland. I couldn't believe it.
"But you could sense that the worst could happen. I have one more year with Arsenal and I have been with them for a long time. I have always respected all my contacts and will continue to do that. What will I do after? Honestly, I don't know."