Sport International Soccer

Thursday 22 February 2018

Lee and Clement to join set-up as new manager urges players to learn from 'bitter experience' at Euros

Having been overlooked a decade ago, Allardyce believes he is now the right man in the right job at the right time. Photo: PA
Having been overlooked a decade ago, Allardyce believes he is now the right man in the right job at the right time. Photo: PA

Sam Wallace

New England manager Sam Allardyce believes that his players' first job is to win over the English public again after their Euro 2016 humiliation by Iceland - and that the team cannot take the support of the fans for granted.

Speaking for the first time since becoming the 14th appointed England manager, Allardyce said that his side could not expect the loyalty of the fans without delivering "passion, commitment … and quality".

The 61-year-old will be presented as the new England manager this morning at St George's Park when he will announce that Sammy Lee and Paul Clement will be the first additions to his backroom staff.

He will meet staff at the FA's national centre in Staffordshire later in the week before deciding what additions, if any, he wants to make to his backroom team before selecting his first squad for the friendly against Croatia at Wembley on September 1 and the World Cup qualifier against Slovakia three days later.

Read more: Sam Allardyce - England manager

"The England fans have supported the team through thick and thin so there is nothing wrong with the support they give," he said.

"You cannot expect an England fan to cheer you if you are not doing well. You can't expect any fan to cheer you if you are not performing to the level they think you should be performing to. The fans will get behind you if you are hitting that level and showing that passion and commitment, but ultimately the quality."

Lee, who won 14 caps for England and worked for the national team for a period under Sven-Goran Eriksson, was with Allardyce at Bolton Wanderers for 19 months.

When Allardyce left to take the Newcastle United job in April 2007, Lee succeeded him but was sacked in October of that year.

Clement, sacked by Derby County last season, will combine the assistant's role with a similar job at Bayern Munich.

Allardyce may also bring in Mark Taylor, sacked as performance director by Sunderland in March. There are no plans to appoint a big-name former player like Steven Gerrard or Rio Ferdinand to Allardyce's staff, although that could change over the next few weeks.

Allardyce identified man-management as his greatest strength and said that included bringing in staff who could "deliver great service in all areas and departments".

He said: "I love finding a person who has greater qualities than me in their department, and promote their strengths. That gives me greater strength to do my job."

He said he would hold "think tanks" with staff over the next few days at St George's Park. "It's for me to take that on board and try to package it all together to deliver our expertise in each area to put the team out."

As for the team, Allardyce will pick his first squad around August 26 for the Wembley friendly against Croatia and the World Cup qualifier against Slovakia in Trnava.

He said: "I think first and foremost it is about regaining a little bit of confidence they may have lost after the Euros.

"It's about saying, 'We've always been very good at qualifying for tournaments, especially the Euros, when we went through the whole campaign and never lost a game. So let's get started from day one, let's put that to bed, put it aside and start delivering'.

"We have to gain from the experience at the Euros. It was a very bitter experience, as we all know, but that inner drive, the players should keep, hold it and use it as a positive and say, 'I don't want to experience that again'. That's the starting point."

Having been overlooked a decade ago, Allardyce (left) believes he is now the right man in the right job at the right time.

"For me, with my experience, I think it's the right time," he said. "I think I'm at the right age (61), with the right experience and hopefully I can pass my knowledge and experience onto the team and the staff working behind the team."

There will be plenty for Allardyce to answer when he walks into the packed press room at St George's Park, puffing his chest out with the pride.

One query will be looming as the elephant in the room and that is the style of play Allardyce will instil into his new team, with worries that he will turn England into a team full of long-ball merchants.

The former hard-hitting defender bristles at such suggestions that have plagued his managerial career and he is sure to launch a strong defence of his tactics. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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