The FA has been extremely busy fixing a problem created by the man they brought in to provide a solution. Sam Allardyce was linked with the England job for years, stretching back to August 2006, At that point the decision, all be it a widely unpopular one amongst England fans, was to appoint Steve McClaren over Big Sam. In the decade that has since passed, the England team hasn’t made any real progress. This despite showing signs of promise on several different occasions under high-profile managers.
With diversity, equality and honesty becoming themes of growing importance in the English and global game, the FA, in my opinion, couldn’t be seen to condone Allardyce’s actions, and I believe took the appropriate steps. However, what England need now is stability. They need someone to take the reins whom is solely focused on finally restoring the English National Team to a high level. With all due respect, we should be competing against the best teams in the world in the latter stages of major tournaments, not knocked out to minnow countries such as Iceland.
Take Germany for example. They have instilled a strong culture within their national side, with a manager at the helm ensuring football is played the right way from the first team down to the U21’s, and U18’s, and with a firm long-term plan in place as to how they will succeed in future major tournaments. This is the model England must emulate.
So what do England need to learn, and what do they do next? Do England go with a young manager with potential such as Eddie Howe, someone with international playing and managing (U21) experience such as Gareth Southgate, or do revert back to the tried and tested, high-profile, experienced manager?
For me, I would like to see someone who instills a passion and pride into our national side. In France over the summer, we undoubtedly had enough quality to compete. And an abundance of players in good form; take Kane, Rashford and Vardy as prime examples. I would say what we didn’t have, however, was the passion and bottle to get it over the line. Talent can only take you so far but, as proved by Iceland, it is far from the most important thing. A group of individuals willing to put their bodies on the line for each other, and for the country they are representing, will take you much further.
As of now Southgate, Steve Bruce and Glenn Hoddle are the 3 favourites to succeed Big Sam. None stand out to me as a long-term answer to England’s ongoing problem. Personally, I’d take a chance on Eddie Howe or even someone like Gary Neville. Both modern, passionate managers with huge potential.
However, whoever does end up with the ‘most desired job’ in English football needs backing. He must work on re-establishing England as one of the world’s dominant forces, if not now then over the coming years. For if we continue the trend of mediocrity, we may never see an England team achieve their own level of expectation in our lifetime.