Football

'The time is right'

England boss Allardyce says he is ready to build a team that fans will want to get behind

PHOTO: REUTERS

New England manager Sam Allardyce believes it is just the right time in his career for him to be taking on what some have called the impossible job.

Allardyce (above), who will give his first news conference today, has left English Premier League club Sunderland to succeed Roy Hodgson with the England team at an ebb after poor performances at the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016.

Allardyce, 61, was upset to be overlooked for the job in 2006 after being interviewed before Steve McClaren was appointed.

Ten years on, he is convinced the extra decade in management will prove beneficial in a job successive managers have found comes with elevated expectations and intense media scrutiny.

"It is the right time for me," Allardyce, who brings a wealth of experience having managed five different EPL clubs, told the English Football Association's website (www.thefa.com).

"I'm at the right age with the right experience. Hopefully I can pass on that knowledge to the team and the staff to try to get a very happy camp that becomes successful."

Another goal of "Big Sam" is to win back England fans, after admitting his team need to earn the country's support.

England were booed from the pitch in Nice after their Euro 2016 humiliation by Iceland, a defeat that marked arguably the nadir in 50 years of tournament trauma.

FANS NOT AT FAULT

"There's nothing wrong with England fans, they have supported the team through thick and thin and there's nothing wrong with the support they give," said Allardyce, who is seeking to create a winning side worthy of their passion.

"You can't expect an England fan to cheer you if you're not doing well, you can't expect any fan to cheer if the team aren't performing to the level expected of them. Fans will get behind you if you're hitting that level.

"We all have to face criticism at this level; the level of criticism sometimes is far greater at international level because it's just a short time together, but also praise is also far greater as well. We have to accept both for what it is."

One of the ways in which Allardyce intends to inspire his players, most of whom will be the same ones that let Hodgson down, will be making them confront their failings in France and declare "never again".

"It's a very bitter experience as we all know but that inner drive... Players should keep that, they should hold it and use it as a positive, say 'we don't want to experience that again'," he said.

"First and foremost, it's about regaining, perhaps, a bit of confidence they have lost after the Euros.

"Let's get started from day one. Let's put that to bed, let's start delivering, gain from the experience that you gained at the Euros.

"We are going to try to qualify for the World Cup and, when we go next time, we're better prepared, mentally, to succeed."

Allardyce, who has penned an initial two-year deal and has been tasked by the FA with helping create a strong national identity throughout the age-group sides, also outlined his best attributes for the job.

As well as creating a strong personal bond with his players, Allardyce signalled his intention to surround himself with a backroom team of experts.

News has yet to materialise about any appointments to work alongside the manager, but the recruitment of expertise is an area he prides himself on.

Asked what he would bring to the job, he said: "Man-management.

"And creating a backroom staff that deliver great service in all areas and departments. You have to manage that, not just manage players but manage staff, to delegate to them and give confidence to produce the qualities they have which are actually better qualities than me.

"I love finding a person with greater qualities than me in their department and promoting their strengths. That gives me greater strength to do my job."

Those who are currently on the FA payroll will also be given an early chance to talk to Allardyce, who will schedule 'think tanks' to get a feeling for how the association operates.

"Think tanks for me will be very important for staff who have experienced international football up to now, to talk to me about what their job is, how they do that job and that they deliver," he said.

"It's for me to take that onboard and try to package all that together, to try and deliver expertise in each area to get the team out and to pull all those departments together."

Allardyce, who has never won a major trophy in his 22-year managerial career, will see his players in action for the first time in a friendly at Wembley on Sept 1 against an as-yet-unnamed opponent.

England kick off their qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup in Russia with a trip to Slovakia on Sept 4. - Wire Services.

FootballenglandmanagerSAM ALLARDYCEsunderlandroy hodgsonEuro 2016ENGLISH FOOTBALL ASSOCIATIONENGLAND FANS