While not official until Sunderland come to terms with the move and get the compensation they feel they deserve, Sam Allardyce is set to become the new England manager. News that fills some with anger, some with apathy and some with delight, Allardyce could be the ideal man that the national team need in a moment of crisis.
Before we all get a little too high-and-mighty about our national squad, remember that we have just had the worst World Cup campaign for a long time and were humiliated by a far smaller nation in the European Championships. This is a time where a side on the edge of a younger generation that will need a big lift, the former Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United manager is the perfect person to perk up their spirits and give them a sterner jaw.
By now, we all know what Big Sam brings to the table. Stability, the capability to get the best out of his players and the capacity to grind out those results when they are needed. It’s not always pretty and his style is often criticised but he has yet to not get the job done.
That’s also to mention that Allardyce is not a tactical genius, he will set the team up to be as solid as they can and to get the ball forward quickly. He showed last season with Sunderland that he does not need a big target man to work his system, Jermaine Defoe showed just that, and on evidence from the European Championships he is not outclassed by many on the current international scene.
However, there has been evidence that players do get on his side. He has never been relegated from the top flight, keeping numerous sides up while gaining loyalty throughout his Premier League journey and there will plenty of players delighted to see him take the reins.
He also had great endorsments from the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, you will struggle to get someone better than that, and he’s been desperate for this job for so long. He will give his all, he will not be afraid of making any difficult decisions and as previous evidence shows, it will not be long before the players are fully behind him.
We are also in a generation where top managers do not really see international jobs as the pinnacle. Many are more enthralled by the best club positions in Europe and with that being the case, Allardyce will not be out of his depth as many naysayers feel he will be.
The FA’s decision to skip young options like Eddie Howe, Gareth Southgate or even Sean Dyche was also a wise move. Give them more time to grow and gain experience, allow them the chance to fail or try their hand at a bigger club before passing the reigns down to the exciting coaching prospects we are beginning to build.
Allardyce is the man England need and the FA deserve. There has been a dearth of solid English coaches in the past ten or so years and that has led to someone who was fighting relegation to get the biggest job in the country in many people’s eyes.
It’s now his time to pick these players up from a heavy blow this summer, give them the confidence and the freedom to perform at the level they need to be at come the World Cup in two years. At least for us viewers, Big Sam will not hide from the task at hand.