SAM ALLARDYCE has a reputation amongst the ill-informed.
Ask those people what the Sunderland manager is all about and they’ll rattle off a list of insulting “attributes” in double-quick time.
Big Sam’s old-fashioned, they’ll tell you. He rules with an iron fist. His teams play rubbish football.
Those people will say appointing him England manager would be backwards step by the FA.
What a load of absolute rubbish.
On the contrary, I reckon Sam is exactly the man England needs right now.
Giving him the job wouldn’t be a retrograde move, it would be a huge leap forward.
And not only that, I fear it would leave Scotland playing catch-up ahead of the impending World Cup qualifiers.
Sam is not a blunt instrument. He’s a details man.
With him at the helm, England will be a more organised, more effective, more consistent team.
It pains me to say it, but recently Scotland have been heading in the other direction.
Missing out on the Euros was painful, especially with all the other home nations in attendance.
After the progress the national team seemed to be making in the early days under Gordon Strachan – and given the expanded format in France – it wasn’t the outcome we expected.
Having to watch from home as the rest of the UK partied at the Finals was grim.
And it means the World Cup campaign is now even more important than it would have been anyway.
At this point, Scotland is desperate. We need to see our team at a major tournament. It has been far too long.
Unfortunately, the stronger England are, the harder that is going to be.
In France, Roy Hodgson’s team looked lost – a bunch of individuals trapped in a system that didn’t suit any of them.
They were rubbish, quite frankly.
Gordon Strachan must have been looking at that England team and thinking: ‘We can take this lot’.
But England under Big Sam would be an altogether tougher prospect.
It’s not just the steel he will introduce across the park, nor just the stubbornness that his teams are known for.
It’s also his thoroughness, and the painstaking effort he puts into every element of his work.
Honestly, you might not think it to look at him – or to listen to him for that matter – but he is among the most forward-thinking managers in the Premier League.
He hides it well because he’s such a plain speaker, but he’s a real innovator.
Yes, his teams are sturdy, but they are also finely tuned and scientifically measured.
If he takes charge of England, every player in the squad will know his job and how to do it – and they’ll be in peak condition.
For Scotland, that will make taking
anything off them in this campaign incredibly difficult.
And it’s not just England – Slovakia and Slovenia are decent teams too.
If England improve – and I believe Big Sam would ensure they do exactly that – Scotland must do the same if they are to have any hope of getting to Russia.
Anything less, and we will be hearing the same old sob story.
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