Ten years after a combination of the FA’s lack of PowerPoint facilities, his reputation as a furious gum-chewer and Steve McClaren cost Sam Allardyce his chance at the England job, the 61-year-old has been installed as the odds-on favourite to be appointed Roy Hodgson’s successor as head of the national team.
The Sunderland boss has held talks with the FA, and has outlined his ambition with regards to leading the country into a 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.
The reaction to Allardyce’s status as favourite has heralded a mixed reaction. Some believe he deserves his opportunity after harbouring a reputation as a fine Premier League manager; some feel he is too limited and his approach is too archaic for international football; others acknowledge that, if the emphasis is on appointing an English manager, he is the best one available.
But, if Allardyce were to take the job, which players would he use? Would he retain the same squad who failed so badly at Euro 2016? Or would he introduce a fresh raft of call-ups? Mark Noble would earn his first cap, surely?
Here at Football365, we have painstakingly trawled through the archives to REVEAL which English players have made the most league appearances under Allardyce during his time as a manager. Unfortunately, even the internet does not contain statistics for Blackpool’s squads from 1994 to 1996, nor Notts County’s from 1997 to 1999, and so the count begins with the start of Big Sam’s Bolton spell in 1999, all the way through to his current dealings with Sunderland.
So, ladies and gentlemen, we present to you the official Sam Allardyce England XI:
GK: Paul Robinson (72 appearances under Allardyce at Blackburn)
RB: Nicky Hunt (83 apps at Bolton)
CB: Simon Charlton (123 apps at Bolton)
CB: James Tomkins (126 apps at West Ham)
LB: Mike Whitlow (97 apps at Bolton)
RM: Matt Jarvis (75 apps at West Ham)
CM: Kevin Nolan (387 apps at Bolton and West Ham)
CM: Mark Noble (142 apps at West Ham)
LM: Matty Taylor (79 apps at West Ham)
ST: Kevin Davies (137 apps at Bolton)
ST: Carlton Cole (129 apps at West Ham)
A central midfield of Kevin Nolan and Mark Noble? Swoon. A strikeforce of Kevin Davies and Carlton Cole? Oof. Beware Germany. Beware Spain. Beware Portugal.
Can we all spare a thought for Stewart Downing (69 appearances under Allardyce at West Ham), who was the only Englishman picked by the manager when he named the best XI he had managed in 2015.