Big Sam’s Big Task

It is expected that Sam Allardyce is to be announced as the next England Manager as the FA have decided on their man. Roy Hodgson had a torrid time at tournaments and therefore ‘Big Sam’ will be tasked primarily with improving England’s tournament performances, he certainly has mastered the art of staying.

The 61 year old has managed West Ham, Newcastle, Notts County and most notoriously Bolton. His main selling point as a club manager was his proud record of have never been relegated. That reputation led him to the Sunderland job nine months ago, and low and behold he saved the Black Cats from a perilous position. This job at England has been a long wait for Sam after a failed attempt in 2006. He lost the job to Steve McLaren in a unusual story. Allardyce claims he lost the job on a technical issue. When being interviewed by the FA he had prepared an extensive presentation which would set out his plan for England, but when he got there the projector wouldn’t work. He printed off all the slides and had to do it the old fashioned way. Allardyce claims this cost him the job. No such issues this time I bet!

His main selling point as a club manager was his proud record of never being relegated.

Allardyce will be bringing a tremendous amount of experience to the position. Big Sam has managed the fourth most Premier League games in history with 467, and with all the foreign managers in the league he is the standard bearer for England. He prides himself on creating a team identity that is sometimes unfairly labeled as long ball. He is strong minded and very tactically savvy. With England going out of tournaments continuously early what Sam will bring is a ‘difficult to beat’ attitude which may help them go deeper into them. In terms of personnel Big Sam is a hard taskmaster who won’t deal with egos well, he has his own rules. “There will be discipline,” says Kevin Davies, who played under Allardyce at Bolton. “He will put the laws and rules down. At Bolton he had a bible which everyone had to read and sign up to. It was the rules and regulations. The way we trained and prepared for games was all in there. It was a 20-25 page document that everyone had to adhere to.” Allardyce is also a massive beleiver in sport science and works closely with sports analysts Prozone. He also gets his teams regularly involved in alternative exercises such as Yoga, any way of getting an edge!

Big Sam is a hard taskmaster who won’t deal with egos well, he has his own rules

For England it will mean some personnel changes. Allardyce has a penchant for older experienced heads so we could see Rooney remaining, and someone like Jermain Defoe, who got goals for him at Sunderland, get a suprise call up. He has long stated his belief Mark Noble should be representing England, and we could see the West Ham favourite in the White of England finally. Andy Caroll also suits his usual style and is the only realistic big man who fill the rule of a heading specialist. That is not all that Big Sam style is about though, he always adds a touch of flair to the team. He likes a player with a spark to change any game and he finds a way to make room for them. Jay Jay Okocha, Nicolas Anelka and Youri Djorkaeff all were mercurial talents that changed games for Bolton. So perhaps a suprise inclusion, or more prominent role for someone like Jack Wilshere in a more advanced position could be possible.

Sam Allardyce has the future of English football in his hands and will be trying to resuscitate the wilting team. People will complain about the style of football he could potentially bring but we must remember at the Euros,who would you rather be Portugal or England? It was Portugal who came out on top. Sam will be more of a challenge for the players than the fans I think. He is ruthless with decisions and intimidating to anyone who breaks ranks, so those with a bad attitude will be out fast. I think Allardyce will bring some stability and certainty to the national team. The certainty might mean ugly football, but it could also be the ingredients for winning and improving.


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