Wednesday 25 April 2018

Sam Allardyce reminds everyone that he learned his trade in Limerick as he is unveiled as England manager

England manager Sam Allardyce during his first press conference
England manager Sam Allardyce during his first press conference

Harry Clarke

Sam Allardyce has reminded everyone that he learned his trade in Limerick as he was unveiled as the new England manager today.

He now occupies one of the most high-profile roles in world sport and has managed five Premier League teams, but it all started in Ireland all the way back in 1991.

"I think the successful journey starts by us all pulling together," said Allardyce today.

"The most important thing are the players. We all work for the team on the pitch and helping them to win.

"What we want to see is the England team being successful and for me that is the greatest challenge in my long career.

"Hopefully I'll be as successful as I have been at other clubs - and I started at Limerick by the way!"

Big Sam also refused to confirm if Wayne Rooney would be kept on as captain.

After describing his management style as "pragmatic", he told Sky Sports News HQ: "I'm going to leave that until I meet all the players and get all the staff together."

He said of his management style: "I think that choosing styles or systems depends on the players available and then who we're playing.

"My coaching technique is to try and give the players the opportunity to win a football match wherever they are playing, be it home or away. And to make them aware of the opposition, which may change the style of how we play."

Allardyce also said it was important he and the players enjoy representing their country, describing the England job as the "pinnacle" of his career.

"I think the bonding of the team is exceptionally important and trying to create a good team spirit. And have some fun, the game of football is to be enjoyed and I've enjoyed my life in the game for many years," he said.

"So as the pinnacle of my career, which this job is, I want to enjoy this the most. So I can only do that with everybody who works for me and works around me."

Allardyce applied for the England post a decade ago when he was in charge of Bolton, but the FA opted for Steve McClaren instead.

Since then Allardyce has gone on to manage Newcastle, Blackburn, West Ham and Sunderland and he believes he is well qualified to take the England job.

Allardyce said: "I think that it was 10 years since I was last interviewed and to sit here is a huge thrill for me. I think I fit the chair, I hope I do.

"I think I've got the experience to challenge the England team and challenge myself. Managing five Premier League teams has given me huge experience."

Asked if he was considered not good enough for the England job in 2006, and what had changed since, Allardyce said: "I was good enough then. So I don't know, perhaps it was political, I don't know.

"There's obviously a different and, without criticising the old regime too much, a much more streamlined (FA) now. With the development of this site (St George's Park), it's much more forward thinking than it was in 2006."

Allardyce takes the reins of the national team when morale is at a low ebb following the chastening experience in France, but the Dudley-born coach refused to accept confidence is at a nadir.

Branded a troubleshooter for his work with struggling Premier League teams during his career, Allardyce feels he has the club-fixer tag thanks to his track record of maximising player potential.

He fully intends to carry that practice into international management.

"I won't suggest it's rock bottom," he said of player morale in the wake of Euro 2016.

"I think it's disappointing but I don't think it's rock bottom.

"People see me as someone who can go into a club and turn things around very quickly and I suppose that comes around by taking West Ham up, saving Blackburn and saving Sunderland.

"I consider myself to be much more than that personally, but I can turn things around pretty quickly and I can get among teams and staff and try and create a successful journey.

Additional reporting by PA

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