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Scholes challenges Allardyce to change England mentality

Paul Scholes believes Sam Allardyce’s major challenge will be changing the mentality of England’s failing national side.

The Three Lions qualified for Euro 2016 with a 100 per cent record but a string of listless displays culminated in a 2-1 last-16 loss to minnows Iceland in France.

Roy Hodgson resigned in the aftermath of that loss in Nice and on Friday the Football Association confirmed Allardyce as his successor.

Scholes won 66 caps for England before a somewhat premature international retirement in 2004 and he feels the same problems that hindered the so-called “golden generation” during his own playing days are also harming the embattled squad Allardyce will inherit.

“I think it’s probably just a mentality thing,” he told reporters. “The two years leading up to the tournament they beat every team. 

“It’s very difficult with the national team in England. Especially with the league being so competitive, bringing players from Manchester United, Tottenham, Arsenal together. 

“Every week they’re fighting to win the league. So it’s very difficult to create a team spirit. 

“This team had good team spirit, but unfortunately didn’t lead to the right results. But there are loads of young English players and some other manager is bound to make things right.”

Whether Allardyce is that man, Scholes is unsure, but he thinks the former Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn and Sunderland boss has been unfairly labelled as a one-dimensional long-ball merchant.

“Time will tell, as is the case with all managers,” he added. “I think he wasn’t the only English candidate, there was Steve Bruce as well, but he had great experience. 

“It’s probably tagged unfairly that it’ll become a long-ball team. Look at his Bolton team; [Fernando] Hierro, [Ivan] Campo and [Jay Jay] Okocha – brilliant footballers. 

“That is the key, if he has good footballers he will get them to play entertaining football. That is what we hope he does with the England team, make them like each other and build some team spirit.”

Sat 23 Jul, 2016
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