England have finally found their replacement for Roy Hodgson: Sam Allardyce. Big Sam has left Sunderland to take over the Three Lions, his dream job and one he's finally landed 10 years after missing out to Steve McClaren. With England coming off of an embarrassing exit at the Euros, whoever got the job would have a tall task ahead of him. That will be Allardyce's task. Was the FA smart to choose Allardyce? There are five reasons to believe they were.
Getty ImagesIan MacNicol
Simple tactics work internationally
The biggest knock on Allardyce is his teams can be direct, physical and, frankly, unattractive. Even if that is overstated some, it's rooted in truth, but at the international level, that can work. It's not like at clubs where managers get tons of time to train with their teams. Simple tactics and a clear approach often win the day. Allardyce will bring that to England. It may not be pretty, but international soccer rarely is.
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England need direction and a clear approach
Watching England at the Euros was painful. They were undoubtedly talented, but didn't really seem to have a clear approach and idea of what they should be doing. And when things went poorly, Roy Hodgson tossed whatever gameplan he had out the window and put as many strikers as possible on the field. The players looked confused on the pitch. Allardyce will give them clear goals and players will know what the team is trying to do. That seems simple and basic, but it was missing at the Euros and it's something Allardyce excels at.
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Allardyce is progressive
It's easy to look at the way Allardyce's teams play and call him a manager from the Stone Age, but nothing could be further from the truth. While his tactics could be from another decade, Allardyce is actually very forward thinking. He is an early adopter of analytics and uses them to set his team up, make tweaks to his tactics and gameplan for opponents. He is also progressive with psychology, player health and how to structure organizations. Basically, he's progressive with everything an international manager actually has time to work on.
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He has no problem trusting young players
Allardyce won't throw kids into the fire just to go with youth, but he isn't afraid to use good young players. He also doesn't have extreme loyalties to veterans simply because they have been around a lot. So don't expect him to put Wayne Rooney in the midfeld just to find a place for him. With Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Marcus Rashford, John Stones and Eric Dier leading a talented crop of youngsters, England need a manager who will turn the team over to the next generation not because it's a play for the future, but because they are the team's best players now. Allardyce will do that.
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Who else would England hire?
Allardyce isn't the best manager in the world by any means. There are other people out there who could do a better job with the Three Lions, but how many of them are taking the England job? The list of candidates was Jurgen Klinsmann, Steve Bruce and Eddie Howe. That's hardly inspiring. The reality is that England isn't a job that managers are dying for, unless you're an Englishman, and there aren't many good English managers out there. When judging Allardyce's hiring, you have to consider the market and who was realistically available. With that in mind, Allardyce is one of the better choices and a pretty ideal fit.