Tuesday 24 January 2017

Sam Allardyce lauds 'lucky coin' for victory thanks to late Adam Lallana goal in Slovakia

Jack De Menezes

Published 05/09/2016 | 09:22

Adam Lallana of England as he scores their first goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Group F qualifying match between Slovakia and England at City Arena on September 4, 2016 in Trnava, Slovakia. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Adam Lallana of England as he scores their first goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Group F qualifying match between Slovakia and England at City Arena on September 4, 2016 in Trnava, Slovakia. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Sam Allardyce revealed that England’s late victory over Slovakia came thanks to a “lucky coin” that he was given in the build-up to his first match in charge as national team manager.

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Adam Lallana struck late in injury-time to secure a 1-0 victory that gives England’s a winning start to their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, although they were soon leapfrogged at the top of Group F after Scotland’s 5-1 victory over Malta.

England endured similar struggles to those experienced at Euro 2016, with Slovakia happy to sit back and defend in the hop of sneaking a goal on the counter attack. The home side found the going even tougher though when former Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel was sent-off for a second bookable offence – although this had less to do with luck given it could have been deemed a straight red card for an obvious stamp on England striker Harry Kane’s ankle.

Yet Allardyce was thankful that luck was on his side, and credited the win to a coin given to him by a young boy in a wheelchair at the team’s hotel earlier in the day.

“A father of a son in a wheelchair came to the hotel this morning and asked if it was okay to have a picture with his son,” Allardyce said. “When we finished he said: 'Let me give you a lucky coin.'

“Here it is. I had it with me in my pocket, we won, so it'll stay with me.

"I'm not really superstitious but I'm going to keep it. It's got us a last-minute winner. I wonder how far it will take us."

Good luck also shone on goalscorer Lallana after he finally broke his England duck to net his first goal for his country at the 27th attempt. Having forced his way into Roy Hodgson’s starting line-up before Euro 2016, the one criticism of the 28-year-old Liverpool defender had been his lack of a finishing touch in front of goal, and he admitted after the match that he had grown desperate to end his international goal drought.

"That goal has been a long time coming," he told ITV.

"I put pressure on myself to score goals. Sometimes you've just got to stick it out until the last minute and thankfully we got the goal."

Independent News Service

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