Wednesday 24 January 2018

Sam Allardyce still rues England exit but 'delighted' with Everton chance

Sam Allardyce watched Everton's victory over West Ham
Sam Allardyce watched Everton's victory over West Ham

Sam Allardyce insisted he was focused on the task ahead as Everton manager rather than "water under the bridge" with England.

A quirk of fate meant Allardyce faced the media for the first time as Toffees boss little more than an hour before the World Cup draw in Moscow.

It was a date that would once have been underlined in the 63-year-old's diary for a Russia trip, but that fell instead to his successor Gareth Southgate.

The coincidence was not lost on Allardyce, who lost his Three Lions job after just one game in the wake of a newspaper investigation, but he declined to dwell on it.

There was room for one dry observation on his dismissal at national manager, though he was keen to keep his attention on the task at hand.

"I'm delighted I'm the Everton manager. What went on in the past is in the Atlantic Ocean now... water under the bridge," he said.

"Obviously it will always be there in the back of the mind but it wasn't my decision. I'm bound to say it's the wrong one, I think it's probably been proven it's the wrong one, but life goes on. I'm just delighted to be here."

Allardyce shed some light on the decision to take charge of his seventh Premier League club, despite having seemingly pulled himself out of the reckoning.

When Everton failed to answer his overtures with a speedy offer, he indicated he had cooled on the idea. But the man who indicated in May that he was retiring soon changed his mind.

"From my point of view I expected it to be a little bit quicker and it wasn't," he said.

"Everton was always going to be a temptation to come back out of retirement, to take up the challenge.

"I got offered more jobs when I said I'd retired than I've ever been offered in my life. Finally Everton came along and in the end it was done within 48 hours."

Duncan Ferguson will retain his place on the club's coaching staff, with his England assistants Sammy Lee and Craig Shakespeare also set to join the payroll.

Everton begin the Allardyce era with a home game against Huddersfield on Saturday.

Another notable link to Allardyce's blink-and-you-missed-it tenure with the national side is Wayne Rooney.

Allardyce retained him as captain for his only game with England, deploying him in the central midfield role which proved a palpable failure at Euro 2016.

But he took considerable satisfaction from Rooney's midweek hat-trick against West Ham, scored from a similarly withdrawn role and in front of the watching Allardyce.

"There's no problem with him playing deep anymore, he's put that one to bed," Allardyce said.

"You don't need to be a rocket scientist or a manager to know where he's going to be playing.

"It was an outstanding performance and Wayne has set his standard again. It was almost like the old Wayne Rooney, at Manchester United... he controlled the game."

Allardyce also addressed those supporters who may be underwhelmed by his arrival in the hot seat, arguing his reputation as a purveyor of rudimentary football was unfair.

"Whatever perception fans have about me, there's nothing I can do about it," he said. "It's been over many, many years and it's not true of course.

"Each club I've managed has had a different philosophy of how you should play. Luckily for me, wherever I've been I've managed to leave the club in a far better position than I'd taken over."

Press Association

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