Allardyce’s first test will be Slovakia WC qualifier

Matt Stead

England have shelved plans to hold a Wembley friendly on September 1, with new manager Sam Allardyce taking charge for the first time three days later in a World Cup qualifier in Slovakia.

The Football Association had held advanced discussions with possible opponents, with Croatia and the Czech Republic both mooted, and were ready at one stage to sign off on the match before appointing Roy Hodgson’s successor.

But Allardyce, who was appointed on Friday and held a first press conference on Monday, has seemingly had some early influence on the schedule.

Rather than preparing for a welcome match at the national stadium, he will conduct additional training sessions with his squad at St George’s Park with all focus on the Group F match in Trnava.

That means his first game at Wembley will be against Malta on October 8, part of a double header that also sees England travel to Slovenia three days later.