Friday, April 20, 2018

Not much has changed for England

David Nugent in Editorial, World Cup 5 Sep 2016

England boss Sam Allardyce got off to a winning start against Slovakia, just

England boss Sam Allardyce got off to a winning start against Slovakia, just

England kicked-off their World Cup qualifying campaign with a late 1-0 win over ten-man Slovakia on Sunday night.

The performance was not too different from the Three Lions display when the two teams met in a goalless draw at Euro 2016 earlier this summer.

However, this time, England found a breakthrough, as Liverpool star Adam Lallana scored a 95th-minute winner to snatch the win.

This came after former Liverpool centre-back Martin Skrtel produced a nasty stamp on Spurs striker Harry Kane and saw red on 57 minutes.

In truth, the performance was not that more inspiring than the game that saw England finish as group runners-up to Wales in France.

Same players at his disposal

Eight of the players that started against Slovakia in Trnava on Sunday night were playing against Iceland in the 2-1 humiliation in the last-16 of Euro 2016. Sam Allardyce could not really have gone for sweeping changes because there are little other players capable of filling those shirts at the moment.

There may be a few players who feel like they have been hard done by like Everton playmaker Ross Barkley or West Ham captain Mark Noble, but by in large Sam Allardyce is stuck with virtually the same group of players.

That group of players that played against Iceland may never get over the experience because quite frankly it was embarrassing. The Nordic nation deserved praise, but the complete lack of any footballing nous shone through on that fateful night.

Those players will take a long time to recover from that and a new boss at international level is not going to be able to transform the team instantly.

Sam is a solid character

Big Sam is a character and always has been. He seems confident in his managerial ability and wanted to test himself on the big stage, which is quite understandable. He was desperate for the job and will give it everything he has.

For me he is a better fit as England boss than Roy Hodgson was, but despite that he does not come across as somebody that is going to be able to lift the country’s national team beyond its current malaise.

He will come in and do the best job he can with the resources available to him. England will be harder to beat and will probably coast their World Cup qualifying group, but it means nothing if they fail big style at actual tournaments.

Allardyce is reported to be a good man-manager, but he is not renowned for his tactical nous which is essential when it comes to winning big games at big tournaments.

Hot favourites to win the group

The Three Lions are hot favourites to win group F at odds of 3/10. Those odds are hardly surprising considering there is no other big footballing nation in the group. Slovakia are the second seed in the group and they have defended for their lives in both the team’s recent meetings.

England’s old enemy Scotland could well prove to be the Three Lions toughest challengers in this group, apart from complacency. Gordon Strachan has given the Scottish team a new lease of life and the Tartan Army will believe they have a good chance of making it out of this group.

England may have struggled to defeat Slovakia in Trnava, but it seems like Sam Allardyce’s side will have enough quality probably, in the end, to make it out the group as winners.

The England boss has changed, but it will take a lot longer than a few months to put right the problems of the England set-up. Allardyce was brought in to steady the ship and bring in solid results.

No doubt he will, even if it means winning ugly at times. However, it could be argued that Allardyce will not move the team forward in any special way. At the moment he is probably the best of a bad bunch of English bosses and there lies the problem.

England are not producing good enough coaches and managers, that is why the Premier League is full of foreign bosses.

Hopefully, that can change in the future, but all I hope for in the future is that the Three Lions do not suffer another humiliating defeat like the one suffered in France against Iceland. With Allardyce in charge that seems unlikely, so good luck Big Sam you are going to need it.

Will England fare any better under Sam Allardyce than Roy Hodgson?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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