Wednesday 24 January 2018 / 10:36 PM


So, Southgate doesn’t want it.

Hoddle wants it, but he’s unlikely to get it.

Wenger might want it.

Apparently Hiddink’s interested.

But who should England appoint as Roy Hodgson’s successor after such an embarrassing and ignominious exit from Euro 2016 – the second time in just four years that the football team have embarrassed themselves on the international stage?

My view? Sam Allardyce.

Now, just to be absolutely clear, I haven’t been a huge fan of Big Sam throughout his career.

His particular brand of route one football that he deployed at Bolton, in particular, was an offence to the eye, and his smugness that came after each dire 0-0 draw was very hard to take.

But I absolutely think that he’s the right person to take England forward. Here’s why:

He knows the players 

Whilst he’s never been given the reins of a ‘top club’, Sam’s got years and years of experience managing top-flight English players. When you think about it, that’s in stark contrast to most of the English managers over the past few years. Hodgson had a handful of years, but most of his experience was in other countries. Capello had never managed in England before. McClaren had only one spell with Middlesborough. Sven had never managed in England before.

Sam has been in the top flight, pretty much continually, since 1999. He’s managed five Premier League clubs, and despite those clubs being in the lower reaches of the league numerous times, he has never been relegated.

He knows how to create a team that’s better than the sum of its parts 

Following on from that last point, one of the things that really sets Sam apart as the outstanding English candidate is his ability to extract high levels of performance out of a squad of little renown.

The job he has done most recently in keeping Sunderland up is noteworthy, as is his fantastic work at Bolton; leading them out of the First Division, into the Premier League and into Europe.

All this, without galactico players, without a huge transfer budget. Sam’s good at working with what he’s got – a vital attribute of any successful international manager.

He creates teams that are difficult to beat 

England have seemed disorganised for a long time now. The goals conceded at these Euros – defensive mistakes. World Cup 2014? Defensive mistakes. Stretching back as far as Sven’s reign, we’ve seen England go to pieces in the big matches.

With Sam, that’s much less likely to happen. Sam makes his teams very, very difficult to beat. He drills them defensively, and he makes sure that every player knows their role inside out.

Sounds like exactly what England need right now, after the confusion and embarrassment of the Hodgson reign…

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Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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