Sam Allardyce is England’s new boss.
All things considered, it’s a good appointment. A strong English coach with a good pedigree and a fantastic track record of getting more from a team than the sum of its parts.
Exactly what England need.
‘Big Sam’ said all the right things in his first England interview, and I can’t be the only fan who is tentatively looking forward to a more pragmatic approach from the man who’s helped numerous clubs escape the drop.
— England (@England) July 23, 2016
One of the biggest reasons I’m looking forward to the Allardyce reign is that – fingers crossed – it will be light on pretensions.
Allardyce isn’t a man who feigns a ‘footballing philosophy’. He’s a man who picks the best players and makes them into a team that’s difficult to beat.
In international football, that’s exactly the kind of guy you want.
And if Big Sam stays true to his values, it will be in stark contrast to predecessor Royu Hodgson and his team, who pretended all the while to be in control, whilst patently having no idea of how to set up a team or win a football match.
Turns out Gary Neville doesn’t really agree with me, though.
Part of the failed team at Euro 2016, Neville has given an interview to the Sunday Times in which he has tried to salvage some pride out of what was clearly a horrendously embarrassing campaign.
“I had complete belief in what we were doing until the last 60 minutes against Iceland,” Neville said.
“I never saw that coming. I just don’t know what happened in that last hour. I’d not seen us play like that in the previous two years.
“There wasn’t one game I could compare it to…I believe they’ll do well without ripping up the DNA and starting again.”
— Sun Sport (@SunSport) July 24, 2016
Fair enough, but not what anyone else thinks, Gary.
The reality is that many of us were in no way surprised by the embarrassing loss to Iceland. It was a result which typified the Hodgson regime – an ability to perform when it actually mattered.
His comment about the DNA indicates that Gary isn’t willing to accept that the Hodgson regime – which he was an integral part of –was a complete failure. He advises Allardyce not to alter the DNA of the side.
Players aside, this is utter hogwash from Neville.
Sure, there are players who should remain in the national side. Lots of them. But to pretend that there is anything good about the England set-up right now, bar the players, would be completely disingenuous.
Allardyce should rip everything up and start again. He should keep some of the players. But aside from that, everything should be new. Tactics: new. Preparation: new.
The last England regime was a disgrace. And the very worst way Allardyce could begin the new regime would be ignoring the undeniable truth of that statement.