Sam Allardyce is the man tasked with restoring pride to England’s national soccer team.
The Football Association appointed Allardyce as England manager on Friday, filling one of the most high-profile jobs in the soccer world with a no-nonsense character familiar to Premier League observers everywhere. Allardyce replaces Roy Hodgson — who stepped down last month following England’s disastrous exit from Euro 2016 — on England’s bench and will lead the Three Lions into 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying.
“The highly respected 61-year-old 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,” The FA said on its website. “Allardyce?s first match in charge will be a friendly fixture at Wembley Stadium on Thursday 1 September.
“The unanimous choice … 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.
“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 maximize the performance potential of a young, talented England squad at a major tournament.”
Allardyce interviewed for the England job a decade ago, but the FA passed him over in favor of Steve McClaren. Allardyce continued to forge his career in the Premier League and Championship (English second division), and his reputation now is that of a survival or promotion (from relegation) specialist rather than a leader of winning teams.
However, Allardyce is ready to author a new chapter in his career, now that he has the job that is like no other.
“I am extremely honored to be appointed England manager especially as it is no secret that this is the role I have always wanted,” Allardyce said on the FA’s website. “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.
“I know we have talented, committed players and it is time for us to deliver.”
Be careful what you wish for, Big Sam.
Thumbnail photo via YouTube/Press Association