Coaching a new direction

By | Sport
England manager Sam Allardyce. Credit

Sam Allardyce was recently appointed England manager, predominantly due to his track record of changing the fortunes of football teams. He has already managed at top English clubs with proud histories, and has built on these, guiding Sunderland, West Ham, Blackburn and Bolton all to consistent Premier League finishes. His vast experience and multiple years in the game, both as a player and manager, may help him to get the most out of the current squad, and help England qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Allardyce’s successful record at previous clubs might be what have persuaded the F.A. to appoint him. Most recently, he took the reins at Sunderland, and turned the club around; upon his appointment on the 9th October 2015, Sunderland were without a win in their opening 8 games. Allardyce seemed to be the catalyst in their quest to survive, most pivotally getting the most out of Jermaine Defoe, who finished the season with 18 goals in all competitions.He also changed his system throughout the season to ensure Premier League survival, and managed to guide his team to important wins against Manchester United, Chelsea, and Tyneside rivals Newcastle, who were defeated 3-0 in Allardyce’s second game in charge.

Prior to his Sunderland appointment, he spent four seasons at West Ham, taking the former FA Cup winners up from the Championship and providing them with consistency, recording three consecutive mid-table finishes and providing opportunities for players like Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan to revive their careers, whilst simultaneously offering foreign talent such as Cheikhou Kouyate and Diafra Sakho a chance to thrive. He has also managed other English clubs including Newcastle, Blackburn and Bolton, the latter of which he guided to their first ever European finish. Even as far back as 1998, Allardyce was winning trophies, guiding Notts County to the Division Three title. He seems to have been successful at every club he has managed, guiding them to trophies and providing a consistent set-up to be built on.

Allardyce has also proven he uses different tactics and strategies; as aforementioned, he changed his tactics to focus his Sunderland team around Jermaine Defoe, and this worked, with Defoe ending the season having the fifth best minute per goal ratio in the league at 170 minutes. At West Ham, he built his team around Andy Carroll, focussing on playing a system where his aerial prowess may be utilised. He was also successful in fixing their defence, prioritising a defensive mindset which led to him grinding out results when playing top clubs like Chelsea. At Bolton, he played intricate, acute football, utilising playmaker Jay-Jay Okocha. As such, he has proved he alters his tactics and strategies based on the players he has at his disposal. This may help England, who seem to have an array of talented players, each with particular strengths.

Allardyce’s teams seem to have a clear focus on English talent; in his last two seasons at Sunderland and West Ham, his squads had a high percentage of English players, at 42% and 48% respectively. His talent also seems to lie at spotting gifted youngsters; Aaron Cresswell, who Allardyce signed for West Ham for £2 million, went on to become Hammer of the Year in his first season, the inaugural award at West Ham. At Sunderland, he gave Duncan Watmore a four year contract, and his performances under Allardyce led to him becoming a regular for the England U21 side, winning seven caps. At Bolton, he signed Kevin Davies, a striker with minimal Premier League experience; he went on to become Bolton captain and a full England international. As England manager, he may give young players a chance as he has done at club level.

Allardyce’s appointment may act as motivation for others, as his hard work and dedication in his previous jobs may have led to him being a successful and decorated manager, and one who now has the England job. He aims to now drive the England team in a fresh direction, a change fans may embrace.

What other teams have hired new coaches and achieved success?


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