The FA today confirmed that Sam Allardyce has replaced Roy Hodgson as England manager, after news of the decision began to emerge on Tuesday.
Allardyce had been in the running with (former) Hull manager Steve Bruce, but beat the former United player to the position after Roy Hodgson stepped down following a dire display in France at Euro 2016.
The decision has been met with mixed reactions, some feel swapping Hodgson for Allardyce is a sideways move rather than a forward one, but others are happy to see a dominating figure go into a dressing room of ego and big shots.
Earlier this week our own Nathon felt the decision provided more question than answers, but former Chelsea defender Jason Cundy believes the decision is a good one and has spoke to us, breaking down when Big Sam is the right man for the England hotseat:
The more I think about Sam Allardyce being England manager the more I am excited about it.
Allardyce is a massive character and has dealt with some big names and personalities so should have no problem dealing with the egos of the England team. Okocha, Djorkaeff, Campo, Hierro, Anelka; Big Sam has managed some real talent and more importantly some real winners so he isn’t as out of his depth as some make out.
One of the first things to be clarified is this misconception about the football he plays. Some have called him a ‘long ball merchant’ and claim that he isn’t progressive but you only have to look at last season and what he did with Sunderland.
The story of their season will be Jermaine Defoe and how his goals kept the Black Cats up, but for a player like Defoe to flourish you can’t play long ball football. He needs it in to his feet so clearly something isn’t adding up. Defoe also highlights another positive aspect of Allardyce, in that he can get the best out of players. We saw him do it at Bolton where he took a number of stars many considered ‘past it’ and made them shine again.
Further to the point about style of football, does that really matter anymore?
Everyone has become obsessed with style of football since tiki-taka but even Barcelona had to adapt that when it became ineffective. Arsenal have played some of the most beautiful football in England for the past 10 years and all they have to show for it is 2 FA Cups. Their fans cried ‘Boring, Boring Chelsea’ after a 0-0 draw at The Emirates in the 2014-2015 season but guess what, that boring Chelsea side were on their way to another title whilst Arsenal continued their barren spell.
Look at Portugal; they were pragmatic, defensive, hard to beat and not great to watch but guess who lifted the trophy at the end of Euro 2016? Playing good football is great, but football is about winning and it tends to be the teams that can win ugly that see silverware when the finishing line is crossed.
That said, I feel there is a very snobbish approach to Big Sam and his football and it is quite an outdated and ill informed misconception. He was one of the first managers to embrace sport science and all it can do to better a side. He is a well known user of ‘Prozone’ for example.
The facts are England are struggling on both a small and large scale and we need a change.
It’s easy to do now, but you wonder what would our fortunes have been like at the Euros with Allardyce in charge instead of Roy Hodgson, especially in that Iceland game because I’m certain a side under his watch wouldn’t have conceded a goal from a throw in and I’m sure he would have had a Plan B unlike Hodgson who seemingly continued to try the same thing despite it clearly not working.
We have a snobbish approach to football thinking that because we are England we have some sort of divine right to be good and to win, but the facts are we haven’t won anything since 1966. In essence we are like a Championship or relegation threatened side in terms of international football and with Newcastle, West Ham and Sunderland Big Sam has shown he can excel with these sort of teams.
So lets see what he can do!