Sam Allardyce’s first press conference as England manager is over and it is clear on the first day of the job how excited the former Sunderland manager is about the challenge that awaits.
Here are three subjects that arose during the discussion:
Pragmatic management style
Allardyce highlighted that at elite level, players needed to be and should be expected to be flexible and versatile. Having a player that can only fit one role in a particular set up was of little use.
He highlighted that his style would be pragmatic, tweaking systems slightly to best combat the strengths of individual opposition.
The fact that he will have longer to prepare for an individual game compared to the quick turnaround of the Premier League schedule should help with this.
The factors that the FA prioritised in manager search
Chief executive Martin Glenn highlighted that “strength of character, tactical nous and the ability to inspire” were the three priorities of the FA’s recruitment of Roy Hodgson’s successor.
With man management being Allardyce’s biggest asset, providing inspiration is expected to come fairly easily, while he regularly noted the need for the entire England staffing team to ensure the international environment was fun.
Team bonding was said to be of the utmost importance, with the game of football being a sport to be enjoyed. Allardyce was hoping to enjoy this job more than any other.
In terms of tactical ability, Allardyce quashed any thoughts that he was a one-dimensional long-ball manager with an example of the way Jermain Defoe was used last season by Sunderland. Defoe netted 15 times, largely as a lone striker, despite not possessing the attributes to suit a long-ball style.
Experience – both his own and that of the players
Allardyce believes his years of experience help to make him the right fit for the England chair, especially given what he has learnt from being in charge at five different Premier League clubs.
He highlighted that he was tough enough to pull through any potentially challenging periods.
As for the players, he declared that although England have a number of young, talented players, they can no longer be assessed by their potential. It should be about reality now, rather than what the longer-distance future may hold.
The experiences of Euro 2016 should stand the players in good stead, as they should want to avoid feeling like that again. Looking at the mental aspect of preparation is something that Allardyce and his staff will form part of any planning.
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