So after another shambolic tournament exit, Roy’s reign as England manager is over, and thoughts turn to who should replace him. Hodgson is clearly a decent man, but there is no doubt that Euro 2016 was a massive underachievement for England, compounded by a series of baffling substitutions (or lack thereof). There was no way he could continue in the job. So let’s take a look at the potential candidates to replace him.
It is my belief that the next England manager should be English. In fact I believe that every international manager should be from the country he manages. That is kind of the idea of international football, it’s a competition between nations. So this is not a patriotic of xenophobic stance, it’s simply a belief that for any national side to employ foreign coaches is basically cheating. For that reason, I will discount the foreign contenders and focus only on the English candidates. Unfortunately, it’s slim pickings.
- Gareth Southgate has had some success with the Under 21s, but has already said he doesn’t want the job.
- Glenn Hoddle has been mentioned, and in my opinion he did a good job last time he was in charge. But that was over 15 years ago, and his subsequent club jobs ended in failure. His time has probably gone.
- Eddie Howe is the bright new hope, but with only one year’s experience managing in the Premier League, this is surely too soon for him. The England job should be the pinnacle of a manager’s career, and the FA cannot be seen to be handing the job to a relative novice.
- Harry Redknapp will be the media’s choice, as they know he’ll give them the most interviews. Even some online polls seem to favour Redknapp, but his appointment would be a huge gamble. He has a poor track record in terms of actually sticking to a job, and his comments and interviews are becoming more and more bizarre and deluded. Recent club management jobs have all ended in failure. Harry’s chance has gone.
- Alan Shearer stands out because he actually does want the job. He will also have the respect of the players due to his experience and quality as a player. His lack of experience must count against him though. His one brief stint as Newcastle manager yielded just one win, and relegation. He would have had the respect of the players there more than anywhere else, but that just isn’t enough.
- Alan Pardew has a decent amount of experience managing in the Premier League, and even has a manager of the year award to his name. However he is also prone to long losing spells, and his temper has frequently been a problem. It would be a huge gamble for the FA to appoint him, and one they are unlikely to take.
Which Leaves Us With…..
All of which leads us to the inevitable choice. Some people won’t like it, but Sam Allardyce is the best qualified English manager around at the moment. He has plenty of experience managing in the Premier League, and has a history of making teams better than the sum of their parts – the exact opposite to England under Hodgson at Euro 2016. He knows how to organise a team, and will have no problem dealing with “big personalities” in the dressing room.
Many will disagree with this choice. They will voice fears about boring long ball football. And they will have a point, to a certain extent, although people are quick to forget that this is the man who had Okocha, Djorkaeff and Hierro playing in midfield for Bolton. Allardyce has played effective football with the personnel he has had available. When he’s had the players to attack, he has attacked. When he’s had inferior players, he has found a way to get results.
England under Allardyce would be functional rather than flamboyant. They would be well drilled, giving nothing away at the back, looking to score on the break or from a set piece.
But then of course, those words also perfectly describe Italy. That’s the Italy who have made the quarter finals, beating Belgium and Spain along the way, despite having what their own media described as their “worst team of all time.” So right now, which position would you rather be in?
Allardyce would give that to England. He’s earned his chance. It may be an unpopular decision if the FA made it, but it would be the right one.
And the man can dance too…..