SWANNY’S WORLD OF SPORT: I fear ‘Big Sam’ has little idea

Sam Allardyce.
Sam Allardyce.
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Nothing I saw or heard last weekend changed my mind about England having appointed another duff national football team manager.

I love Sam Allardyce’s obvious passion for the job. Unlike miserable, monotone Roy Hodgson, at least Allardyce appears to love being in charge.

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney

Sadly passion rarely translates to performance these days. Allardyce doesn’t even talk a good game.

In fact Big Sam started spouting his nonsense in the build-up to the game in Slovakia by suggesting a draw away from home would have been an acceptable result.

Yes that’s right, if Adam Lallana hadn’t rather fortunately poked the ball though a goalkeeper’s legs in the 95th-minute ‘Big Sam’ would still have been happy.

Slovakia are the West Brom of European football, but with less attacking threat. They are organised defensively, but lack ambition.

Harry Kane.

Harry Kane.

In short a team of multi-millionaires should brush them aside with contemptuous ease, as I’m sure England would have done with a Jurgen Klopp or an Antonio Conte in charge.

But instead, the no-mark England managerial selection panel have lumbered us with Allardyce, a man drummed out of modest West Ham because of his Dark Age brand of football. England’s technical director Dan Ashworth appointed Ade ‘Hoofball’ Boothroyd to manage England Under 20s so at least he’s consistent.

Allardyce’s supporters (most are Bolton-based) claim he is actually a visionary. Apparently he was way ahead of his time in terms of data analysis and diet.

Sadly in terms of team selection Allardyce is less ambitious and less innovative. He picked most of the players who had been abysmal against Slovakia in a far more important game a couple of months earlier.

It’s a sign of madness, not genius to keep doing the same things and expect different results as Albert Einstein, (or was it Jose Mourinho?), said.

Allardyce picked Jordan Henderson to start even though the soon-to-be Liverpool reserve has a worse first touch than Carlton Palmer and less passing ability than Nobby Stiles.

Or maybe Wayne Rooney picked Henderson? Allardyce appears to be in thrall of his skipper. Even stating after the game that the fading Manchester United star was told to ‘play anywhere you want’.

You what? The England manager is handsomely rewarded to make those sort of decisions. Rooney is not the best player in the team any more (if he ever was) and indulging his (seriously misguided) belief that he can pass like Glenn Hoddle is a huge error by the manager.

Build your team around someone already good, but with decent potential to improve, like Dele Alli, not a player who (again self-indulgently) has decided he will retire after the World Cup in Russia.

Of course England will reach Russia because qualification is so easy, Graham Westley would be hard pressed to cock it up.

But will England be any good when they get there? It’s very doubtful with Allardyce in post.

At least he’s stopped Harry Kane taking corners, although getting him to remember how to score goals would be a far more impressive feat of coaching.

Marcus Rashford’s hat-trick for England Under 21s should be enough to propel the youngster back into the senior squad. With Harry Kane having hit a brick wall after two great seasons and Daniel Sturridge in possession of a brittle body, England need a natural goalscorer.