England manager Sam Allardyce believes he is now the right man in the right job at the right time.
The 61-year-old was appointed as Roy Hodgson’s successor last week and holds his first press conference today.
Having been overlooked a decade ago, the former Bolton, Newcastle, Blackburn, West Ham, and Sunderland manager has finally been handed the reins to the position he has coveted for years.
“For me, with my experience, I think it’s the right time,” Allardyce said as he was finally confirmed by the Football Association after an agreement was reached regarding his severance from Sunderland.
“I think I’m at the right age, with the right experience and hopefully I can pass my knowledge and experience onto the team and the staff working behind the team.”
There will be plenty for Allardyce to answer when he walks into the packed press room at St George’s Park today: Will Wayne Rooney remain as captain? Who will make up his backroom staff? Will he keep faith in the majority of players who so badly underperformed at Euro 2016?
Allardyce himself may not know the answers to all of those questions. But he has always had a presence when talking to the media, commanding the flow of conversation expertly away from areas he does not particularly want to be led.
Despite those questions and whether they are addressed sufficiently, one query will be looming as the elephant in the room, and it is one that he will need to answer.
That is the style of play Allardyce will instil into his side — with worries that he will turn England into a team of long-ball merchants.
The former hard-hitting defender bristles at such suggestions that have plagued his managerial career, but one thing he does not lack is self-belief.
“I should have got it,” he said in his autobiography about his interview for the England post in 2006.
Now that he has it, his first test is to give a strong performance at today’s unveiling.
Meanwhile, David Moyes — Allardyce’s replacement at Sunderland — made an instant connection with the club’s fans on his first day in the job.
Moyes was installed on Saturday morning, signing a four-year deal, and watched the Black Cats defeat Sky Bet Championship side Rotherham 2-1 in a friendly at the New York Stadium.
He decided to leave Robbie Stockdale and Paul Bracewell in charge of team affairs, looking on from the stands instead, but posed for pictures before kick-off, and waved when invited by a travelling contingent of over 2,000 as they chanted ‘David Moyes’ red and white army’.
At the end of the game the Scot joined his new players on the pitch and raised a clenched fist towards the away end as they acknowledged him.
Moyes saw Charles N’Zogbia, the former Newcastle winger who was taken on trial by Allardyce, turn in an eye-catching display. He set up Fabio Borini for the opening goal and made it 2-1 late on.
Moyes’ first official day in charge went less smoothly when the aircraft taking his first-team squad on a pre-season tour of France was forced to make an emergency landing at Manchester Airport.
With Moyes on board, an engine fault meant the flight from Newcastle to Geneva make an unscheduled detour to Manchester.
The Black Cats are due to play Stade Nyonnais today.
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