Sam Allardyce: What will England look like under him?

By Saj ChowdhuryBBC Sport
Sam Allardyce
Kevin Davies on Allardyce: "He won't stand for any nonsense."

Is England ready for Big Sam?

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce will be confirmed as the new national team boss in the next 24 hours - but is the man affectionately known as 'Big Sam' the right person to take the national team forward?

We take a look at what England could look like under Allardyce.

Key ingredients

Sam Allardyce
Sam Allardyce won 80 of his 226 Premier League games as Bolton manager

"There will be discipline," says Kevin Davies, who played under Allardyce at Bolton. "He will put the laws and rules down. At Bolton he had a bible which everyone had to read and sign up to.

"It was the rules and regulations. The way we trained and prepared for games was all in there. It was a 20-25 page document that everyone had to adhere to."

Expect experience and steel too - think Davies himself, Gary Speed, Fernando Hierro, Ivan Campo, Radhi Jaidi, Joey Barton, Michel Salgado and Sunderland destroyer Jan Kirchoff, all recruited by the Dudley-born manager.

So will that mean a reprieve for 30-year-old defender Gary Cahill, one of the older members of a youthful Euro 2016 squad, or even a recall for John Terry at 35?

Don't forget flair - from the man who signed French World Cup winner Youri Djorkaeff, Nigeria playmaker Jay-Jay Okocha and Wahbi Khazri, as well as signing Mark Viduka at Newcastle and almost roping in Robert Lewandowski while at Blackburn. If it wasn't for that pesky volcanic ash cloud, Sam...

Because of his fondness for a 'wildcard player', might we see someone like wily Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere given a more prominent role?

And let's not overlook Kevin Nolan - his reliable charge. Perhaps the ex-Bolton, Newcastle and West Ham midfielder might link up with his boss for a fourth time - maybe as a coach following the 34-year-old's stint as Leyton Orient player-manager last season.


Manager stat snip
Allardyce has managed Bolton, Newcastle, Blackburn, West Ham and Sunderland in the Premier League - he has never been relegated with a club

If you have a high work-rate on the pitch, train hard to be in peak condition and enjoy set-piece drills then join the club. You would also have to embrace modern sports science methods.

At Bolton, Allardyce embraced Prozone - a sports analysis company in its infancy. He wanted to use the statistics provided to get the edge on his rivals.external-link

In a Guardian piece in 2015, Allardyce is said to have had "exact positions for players to gain the best possible chance of scoring" - this would be of paramount importance on throw-ins, free-kicks and corners. Hence, the now-renowned Allardyce meticulous preparation on set-pieces.

That could mean an end to Wayne Rooney as a deep-lying midfielder, Daniel Sturridge on the right wing and Harry Kane taking corners.

He is also keen that players take a holistic approach to preparation.

Former Bolton player Michael Bridges said: external-link"Every week we would have yoga classes and it was the first time I had been given supplements to take with my food, which helped recovery and joint ache. We even had a psychologist who would sit down with us whenever we wanted to get advice or set ourselves targets."

Former Trotters striker Davies told BBC World Service: "Motivation-wise, he is fantastic, the best I have ever worked with. He knows how to get the best out of a player. He has proven that with the players brought in, and has got careers going again.

"He's just a good man-manager, he knows when to crack the whip and when to dangle the carrot."

So Allardyce could be a lifeline for the damaged confidence of Raheem Sterling and reignite the form of Everton pair John Stones and Ross Barkley.

Who could come in from the cold?

Andy Carroll
Could 6ft 4in striker Andy Carroll find his way into Allardyce's starting line-up?

West Ham striker Andy Carroll springs to mind for his physical presence in attack, while at Sunderland Jermain Defoe was one of his key players in the fight for survival.

Some 21% of the passes his Sunderland team played last season were long - compared to 8.7% at Arsene Wenger's Arsenal. So could Manchester United's Michael Carrick return? Or would he find room for Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey?

He signed left-back Aaron Cresswell when he was at West Ham and has previously questioned why Hammers central midfielder Mark Noble was excluded from the national team.

And, with his love of veterans, could he tempt Major League Soccer duo Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, both closer to 40 than 30, out of international retirement?

Davies said: "He likes to have a dressing room which has good morale and a good belief in themselves. Anybody that goes in there and unsettles that squad will be out the door.

"That's what Sam does - he's ruthless, he won't stand for any nonsense, but he will create an environment where the players look forward to coming away. I think the atmosphere he will create will be similar to Wales or Iceland, that spirit, that togetherness along with the ability that we have lacked."

This article was first published on 13 July 2016.

An Allardyce starting XI?

England's next fixture is their opening World Cup 2018 qualifier against Slovakia on Sunday, 4 September. If Allardyce is in charge, who would be in his starting line-up?

Subscribe to the BBC Sport newsletter to get our pick of news, features and video sent to your inbox.


Join the conversation

These comments are now closed.


Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC