Sam Allardyce a hot pick for England manager position
Allardyce talks to English FA; bookmakers make him favourite
The Football Association have given no indication that they will look solely for English candidates for the England manager's job, but having only ever appointed two foreign coaches to varied success, a man with vast Premier League experience may be preferred.
And recently, Sir Alex Ferguson said: "It's very difficult to think of the right man and there are only three English managers in the Premier League. With Sam's (Allardyce) experience, he is the obvious choice."
With the former Manchester United boss in his corner, Allardyce (left) looks to be in pole position to become the next England manager after his club Sunderland revealed yesterday they had granted him permission to speak to the FA.
The 61-year-old Englishman, who was interviewed for the England job 10 years ago but lost out to Steve McClaren, spoke with the three-man FA panel on Tuesday about succeeding Roy Hodgson, who resigned after the national team were beaten by Iceland in the Euro 2016 last-16 clash.
Sunderland, who Allardyce saved from relegation last term, made clear they wished the situation to be resolved as quickly as possible so they can prepare for another tough campaign in the Premier League.
"The Football Association contacted Sunderland AFC to seek permission to speak with our manager as part of what was supposed to be a confidential discussion process with potential candidates for the position of England manager," read a statement from Sunderland.
"At Sam Allardyce's request, we agreed to this.
"Sam is very much key to our plans. After what was an extremely challenging season, we are keen to see a period of stability, both on and off the field, and we want him to remain as manager of our football club.
"The ongoing speculation over Sam's position is extremely damaging to Sunderland AFC, particularly at this crucial time of the season and we urge the FA to respect the disruption that this process is causing and bring about a swift resolution to the matter."
As fas as English managers in the Premier League go - alongside Bournemouth's Eddie Howe and Crystal Palace's Alan Pardew and promoted Hull's Steve Bruce and Burnley's Sean Dyche - Allardyce is the obvious choice. He has 15 years of Premier League experience, more than Howe (one year), Dyche (one year), Gareth Southgate (three years), and Pardew (seven-and-a-half) combined.
Allardyce, who apart from an Irish championship with Limerick City in 1992 has never won a major domestic trophy, is one of several names who have been linked with one of the trickiest jobs in the sport.
The others are Bruce, Howe, Arsenal's Arsene Wenger, former England boss Glenn Hoddle and the United States' German coach Juergen Klinsmann.
Allardyce, though, has been installed the odds-on favourite by English bookmakers William Hill. Despite not winning anything significant as boss of, among others, Bolton, Newcastle, Blackburn and West Ham, he engenders respect and is seen as a great motivator of players.
His remarks 10 years ago which fell on stoney ground that England were heading into an "abyss" may have been ignored by the FA then, but resonate now after successive failures at major championships.
Since Swede Sven-Goran Eriksson guided England to the 2006 World Cup quarter-finals, they have either failed to qualify for a championship - Euro 2008 which cost McClaren his job - or failed to get past the first knockout stage in the subsequent two Euros and two World Cups under the autocratic Fabio Capello and then Hodgson.
Allardyce's quote after he lost out to McClaren sounds even more propitious: "The problem isn't now, the problem is in the future."
Would England be interested in me? They say they are looking for an English manager, but will they do it? You’ve got this, ‘what’s sexier?’ element now, rather than how good you are at doing the job.
— Sam Allardyce in May, before Euro 2016