Poisoned chalice: Sam Allardyce tops list of leading candidates for England football manager

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 July, 2016, 10:04am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 July, 2016, 8:11pm

Sam Allardyce looks to be in pole position to become the next England manager after his club Sunderland revealed on Wednesday they granted at his request permission to speak to the Football Association.

Here’s a look at the five leading candidates for the job vacated by Roy Hodgson when he resigned after losing to Iceland at Euro 2016 (according to the bookmakers):

Sam Allardyce (Sunderland) odds 2/5 on

The one sure-fire candidate as his club confirmed he had held talks with the three wise men on the FA panel. The 61-year-old – inevitably dubbed “Big Sam” – is as uncompromising in his coaching style as he was as a central defender, although he did modify his direct approach a bit when asked to at West Ham. He rejected accusations from Jose Mourinho that his team played “19th Century football”. Has never won silverware in England but is respected for his ability to get the most out of players even with limited ability. Question is: is he a better manager now than he was 10 years ago when he was also interviewed for the top job and lost out to Steve “the wally with the brolly” McClaren?

Juergen Klinsmann (United States) 8/1

Engaging, charismatic and a free spirit, the German – who has experience of English football having played for Spurs – has managed Germany, when they hosted the 2006 World Cup, and guided them to the semi-finals. A tough spell at Bayern Munich has been followed by happier times with the United States. But a 4-0 thumping by Argentina in the Copa America semi-finals illustrated the chasm in class that exists with the top teams and could prompt him to look elsewhere. Linked with the Southampton job, which went to Claude Puel, the 51-year-old is under contract till 2018. Would be a refreshing choice, but plenty of US football fans would be happy to see him go.

ddie Howe (Bournemouth) 14/1

The young buck greatly admired for what he has achieved with limited resources at Bournemouth in not only guiding them to the Premier League for the first time but keeping them up. The football he advocates has also won him admirers, but at just 38 his inexperience – despite being a manager for seven years – will probably make the FA hesitate. His chances would improve were he to keep Bournemouth up again in the forthcoming season. On the other hand the FA may feel that having tried the foreign route and then the experienced hand in Fabio Capello and Hodgson – and seen them fail at major championships – why not take a leap into the unknown with a younger, English man.

Steve Bruce (Hull) 16/1

Similar in mould to Allardyce, another former rugged centreback, although he won considerably more silverware as a player at Manchester United. The 55-year-old has, like Allardyce, had a fair few clubs during his managerial career. But unlike the older Englishman Bruce has come within a hair’s breadth of winning a trophy, his Hull side being beaten by Arsenal in extra time of the 2015 FA Cup. He has also managed to regain their Premier League status after just one season in the second tier. However, while engaging and no fool, there are question marks over his ability to step up to the very top level.

Glenn Hoddle (unattached) 20/1

For a man ridiculed over his beliefs, including on reincarnation, this would be supreme vindication on every level. It would be his second incarnation as England boss after the first ended 17 years ago not because of poor results but because of remarks about disabled people. No doubting the 58-year-old has an acute football brain – which transferred neatly from his glorious playing days – but he hasn’t held a managerial position for 10 years, since he was in charge of Wolves. Has been a TV pundit since and that – as several have found, like Gary Neville and Alan Shearer – is not easy to transfer from the studio to the dugout.