England manager Sam Allardyce admits he will be nervous ahead of his first game in charge against Slovakia in a World Cup qualifier on Sunday.
The former Sunderland boss has long waited for the opportunity to manage his country after being overlooked in 2006 and he will now lead the Three Lions out against an opponent they faced at Euro 2016, a game which ended in a 0-0 draw.
While Allardyce insists he is focused on the task at hand, he confessed that nerves may get the better of him as kick-off approaches.
“I think there will be nerves,” he told a media conference. “You’re nervous, you’re hoping your players go out and do your talking for you, you hope when they walk over the white line they deliver what we all want – obviously that’s a victory.
“I’ll be very nervous in the early part of the build-up to the game and probably just as we get here [to the stadium].
“But once the game starts, it relieves me and the focus on the match comes in. I’ll then see how the team is doing, what I may need to do or communicate with the team to make a difference if I need to.”
It has not been an ideal start for Allardyce, though, with goalkeeper Fraser Forster and defender Luke Shaw already withdrawing from the squad due to fitness concerns.
The 61-year-old did confirm, however, that Shaw’s absence was merely precautionary.
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