Sam Allardyce insists he is “tough enough” to handle the pressure that comes with managing England.
Allardyce undertook his first media duties as Roy Hodgson’s successor at England’s St George’s Park base on Monday and, having faced varying levels of criticism over his style throughout his career, the 61-year-old is ready to tackle this latest challenge head on.
The former Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers and Sunderland boss conceded his wife asked him to consider the considerable stresses and strains of a post he failed to land when the Football Association set in motion Steve McClaren’s ill-fated reign 10 years ago.
But Allardyce is ready to put it all on the line, as he expects the England post to be his last major role in management.
“I’m hardened over many years,” he said. “I’m here because I want to be. I’m here because I want the challenge. I’m here because I’m tough enough to take it. So bring it on, lads.
“The missus made me think about that side of it long and hard but I am going into it with my eyes open.
“It could well be me [suffering England failure] somewhere down the line but I’m not going to do anything after this job anyway. I’m 61, coming up to 62. There’s not a lot more I’m going to do after this one is there?
“There’s not a lot more after this one that is going to excite me as much unless I’m enticed into staying in football in a different form. But that would be a different challenge.
“I think that it was 10 years since I was last interviewed and to sit here is a huge thrill for me. I think I fit the chair, I hope I do.
“I’ve dreamt about this job and I have fulfilled that dream so I am a lucky man. I am exceptionally lucky. Or am I exceptionally good? I suppose you’ll decide that along the way. You know what the next dream is.”
Allardyce is charged with picking up the pieces from a humiliating Euro 2016 campaign but he is happy with the talent at his disposal – claiming Hodgson’s squad had the talent to win the tournament despite crashing to a 2-1 last-16 defeat against Iceland.
“Yes I do – I thought there was some outstanding ability,” he added. “Plenty of goals in the team. Unfortunately that all seemed to dry up.
“Potential is not a word I want to use. It has to be reality and they have to stand up and be counted.”