herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Rio wins in hard neck Olympics

Allardyce will, at least, have a plan. Photo: Martin Rickett
Allardyce will, at least, have a plan. Photo: Martin Rickett
But I have to say, if self-promotion was an Olympic event, Alladryce would pale into insignificance beside gold medallist, Rio Ferdinand. Photo: Steve Humphreys

I couldn't let the new season start without marking the appointment of Sam Allardyce as England manager. He might even make a decent job of it.

Everyone knows that I have very little time for him. His bluster and hard neck have helped him carve a long career in the game but he has never been my cup of tea in terms of personality or his approach to the way players play.

But I have to say, if self-promotion was an Olympic event, Alladryce would pale into insignificance beside gold medallist, Rio Ferdinand.

Allardyce has paid his dues. He went out into the world to learn his trade, failed and failed again. But each time, he climbed back into the saddle and had another go.

But Ferdinand has done nothing but sit in a television studio and promote himself for a senior management position he is ill-equipped to fill.

Alan Shearer did the same and somewhere in the middle of the mess, Gary Neville ducked and dived and tried to keep his options open.

Ferdinand criticised Allardyce for not contacting him to offer him a position on his staff. He believes he should be groomed to be the next England manager.

He has no qualifications for the job. None. Neither has Shearer or even Neville.

For me, the only young Englishman with any claim was Eddie Howe and I would have appointed him.

Neville dipped his toe into management in Spain and failed but if events in France had unfolded in a more positive way for England, he would be in pole position and primed to take over from Roy Hodgson.

Now, he's a beaten docket and his position at Sky has been seriously undermined. Put it this way, remember that cringe worthy moment when he lashed Arsene Wenger for being naieve?

He will find it hard to lash anyone ever again after his experience with Valencia and England.

To be fair to Neville, he is good at punditry or at least, better than anything Sky offered before although he was often wrong.

His old team-mate Ferdinand isn't very good at it at all and punditry and self-promotion are the only things I've seen him do since he retired.

He has a strong sense of entitlement and seems to want a free ride. He doesn't feel that he should have to do the hard graft and wants to piggy-back into the England job.

Crazy stuff though not a bit surprising. Anything goes where England are concerned.

Allardyce's appointment comes off the back of France and the simplistic perception that England's players need a kick up the backside.

I don't accept that they lack courage or conviction. I think they lack direction and have always done. Failure in France was about bad management. Hodgson had no plan and the team drifted.

Allardyce will, at least, have a plan. He's a Prozone man and he will come at the job in the same way he approaches every job. He will organise England, make them hard to beat and play the percentages. It would be a great surprise if his team is easy on the eye. Can he be successful? Perhaps. Euro 2016 was a lesson in how pragmatic managers can turn ordinary players into competitive teams at international level.

Will he get the best out of the players he's got? Probably not.

England have plenty of good players but they have rarely been managed properly at international level and that's not going to change any time soon.

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