Second chance – Sam Allardyce lands England manager’s job and sets sights on World Cup
The 61-year-old replaces Roy Hodgson in the hot seat having been rejected for the position 10 years ago
Sam Allardyce is the new England manager after the Football Association officially appointed him on Friday, 10 years after he failed to convince them he was the right man for the job.
The 61-year-old Englishman – who lost out to Steve McClaren 10 years ago after Sven-Goran Eriksson left – signed a two-year contract with his task to guide England to the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.
Allardyce – who gained credit for keeping Sunderland in the Premier League last season – replaces Roy Hodgson, who stepped down after England lost to minnows Iceland in the last 16 of Euro 2016 last month.
Allardyce, whose only piece of silverware came at the beginning of his managerial career with an Irish League title at Limerick City, couldn’t hide his joy after at last getting the job he had coveted all his long managerial career.
“I am extremely honoured to be appointed England manager especially as it is no secret that this is the role I have always wanted,” said Allardyce in a statement issued by the FA. “For me, it is absolutely the best job in English football.
“I will do everything I can to help England do well and give our nation the success our fans deserve. Above all, we have to make the people and the whole country proud.
“While my main focus will be on the senior team and getting positive results, I want to add my influence to the great work being done across the development teams at St George’s Park – a facility I have used with my previous clubs.
“I know we have talented, committed players and it is time for us to deliver.”
The FA said Allardyce, who became favourite once Under-21 coach Gareth Southgate said he wasn’t interested in the job and Arsene Wenger said he wanted to see out his contract at Arsenal, had been the unanimous choice of the three-man panel deployed to select the manager.
They had also spoken to Steve Bruce, who is now favoured to replace Allardyce at Sunderland as rumours abound he has resigned from Hull, while United States’ German coach Juergen Klinsmann and Eddie Howe of Bournemouth had also been mentioned as being on a four-man shortlist.
“Following a comprehensive and structured process, the Football Association is today delighted to confirm Sam Allardyce as England manager,” read the statement.
The highly respected Allardyce has signed an initial two-year contract and takes up the position with immediate effect following a successful spell retaining Sunderland’s status in the Premier League.
“Allardyce’s first match in charge will be a friendly fixture at Wembley Stadium on 1 September. Allardyce arrives with a proven track record of getting the best results out of the teams he has managed and a strong reputation as a forward-thinker with progressive ideas,” it said.
The FA said Allardyce, who was once accused by Jose Mourinho of getting his West Ham side to play “19th century football” though he retracted that comment a year later, has been set a number of tasks aside from reaching the finals in Russia.
“Alongside his primary target of qualification for the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia, Allardyce has a mandate to shape a strong, purposeful team identity and maximise the performance potential of a young, talented England squad at a major tournament,” read the statement.
“Allardyce is also charged with helping [technical director Dan] Ashworth integrate and strengthen the FA’s elite performance and coaching programme across the England senior and development teams at St George’s Park.”
Sunderland for their part issued a terse statement not even wishing the man who saved them from relegation well.
“Sunderland AFC confirms the departure of Sam Allardyce, who takes up the position of England manager with immediate effect,” read the statement.
“The focus of everyone at Sunderland AFC now is on moving forward quickly and decisively, with the appointment of the club’s new manager to be confirmed at the earliest opportunity.”