Jul 262016

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Sam Allardyce: Best bits from new England manager’s unveiling

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho will determine where Wayne Rooney plays for his country, says new England boss Sam Allardyce.

Rooney, 30, featured as a forward and in midfield under previous England manager Roy Hodgson during Euro 2016.

Allardyce said it was too soon to confirm whether Rooney, England’s record scorer, would remain as captain.

“I still think Wayne Rooney has a massive place to play in the England side,” said the 61-year-old.

“If Jose says he is not going to play him in centre midfield and he is playing up front and scoring goals for Manchester United then it would be pointless me bringing him into England and playing him in centre midfield.”

With Rooney likely to face competition for a starting spot at Old Trafford from forwards Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Anthony Martial, Allardyce said a player’s club form will be important in him being selected.

“I don’t know until that happens with anybody, let alone Wayne Rooney,” he added. “I hope there are standout players all over the place when the Premier League starts.

“I hope it’s a hugely difficult task for me to pick my first squad because everybody is on really good form and playing exceptionally well.”

Wayne Rooney has won 115 caps for England, scoring 53 goals

Allardyce’s first game in charge will be a World Cup qualifier against Slovakia on 4 September, and he hopes to have made contact with Premier League managers to “hear their thoughts” before choosing his squad.

“We’ve got to try and help each other if we possibly can,” said Allardyce, who has more than two decades’ worth of domestic coaching experience.

“It won’t always be the case, the demands on Premier League managers and demand on me as England manager is bound to cause some conflict down the line because the pressures are far greater than ever before.

“So they are bound to want to protect their players and that is what I have to try and overcome with a little bit of give and take, hopefully.”

Allardyce, who has managed clubs including Sunderland, West Ham, Newcastle and Bolton, believes England had the players to win Euro 2016 “had they all performed to their best”.

Having signed a two-year deal with the Football Association, he said taking England further than they have progressed at recent tournaments is a “different level” of challenge.

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Sam Allardyce: New England manager’s football philosophy

Allardyce added: “I think that this is a new challenge for me. It’s outside of my comfort zone, which is what I like.

“The challenge of the Premier League is not as big a challenge to me as when I first got there because I’ve done it for so long. I’ve managed in there for such a long time that I know I can achieve at that level.

“I’m ready for this now. After 950 games as a manager there is something you want to change in your life sometimes and this was it for me.”

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Jul 262016
Joe Allen played in every game for Wales at Euro 2016

Stoke City have signed Wales midfielder Joe Allen from Liverpool for £13m.

The 26-year-old, who had a year left on his contract, was also a target for the Potters’ Premier League rivals Swansea, whom he left to join Liverpool in 2012.

“It’s been a whirlwind 48 hours for me but I am delighted to have finally been able to put pen to paper,” said Allen, who has signed a five-year contract.

“I was really excited as soon as I heard of the club’s interest and it wasn’t a difficult decision to make.”

Allen was Stoke’s second signing of the day after Egyptian winger Ramadan Sobhi joined the club from Al Ahly for a fee that could rise to £5m.

Despite starting only eight league games for Liverpool last season, Allen was named in the Euro 2016 team of the tournament after helping Wales reach the semi-finals.

Liverpool rejected an £8m offer from Swansea in June but Allen will now link up with Stoke’s Welsh manager Mark Hughes.

“Joe is a player that Mark has admired for a considerable amount of time,” said the club’s chief executive Tony Scholes.

“We have had to act swiftly to conclude the deal but we are delighted that we have managed to get it over the line.”

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Allardyce ‘tough enough’ to manage England

England manager Sam Allardyce says his new job will be the “greatest challenge” of his career.

In his first news conference since taking charge of the national side, Allardyce said “man management” was his “biggest asset”.

Allardyce, who helped save Sunderland from Premier League relegation last season, succeeds Roy Hodgson after a disappointing Euro 2016 campaign.

Sammy Lee, Allardyce’s assistant at Bolton, joins the England staff.

“This will be the greatest challenge for me in my long career and hopefully I will be as successful as I have in the rest of my career,” Allardyce said.

Allardyce also said he would not make a decision on Wayne Rooney’s captaincy until he has met the players and staff.

The former Newcastle, Blackburn and West Ham boss also spoke about:

  • Managing world class players despite not winning a major trophy
  • Calling for a mid-season break
  • His “pragmatic” style of management and style of play
  • Players making their potential a reality

Allardyce on achievements

“I have managed some world class players. Fernando Hierro, Youri Djorkaeff, Jay Jay Okocha, Gary Speed, Nicolas Anelka and Michael Owen. I have managed some talented players; the good thing about that is they make your life easier, they know what you want.

“Working with the England elite players will be very exciting for me because they will take on board ideas very quickly.

“In terms of winning no trophies or cups, unfortunately, as an English manager I never got to go right to the top of the Premier League.

“I saved clubs and never got relegated, and they are not the same as winning the FA Cup or League Cup, but they are big achievements.”

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Sam Allardyce right person for England – Jose Mourinho

Allardyce on what is holding England back

“No midseason break. I have been an advocate of that for 10 years or more. The demand on players is enormous.

“The Premier League is the best league in world so demand has to be on the players. It would help the Premier League and us at international level if we could try and achieve it.

“In my time when we finish at Christmas, in January and February it is always the most difficult time to get players through.”

Allardyce on one up front

“I think choosing styles of systems depends on the players available and who we are playing. My coaching technique is to try to give players the opportunity to win football matches, home or away, and make them aware of the opposition.

“I think the bonding of the team is exceptionally important and trying to create that team spirit and have some fun. I have enjoyed my life in the game, this job is the pinnacle and I want to enjoy this the most.

“My style of play has always been a tag for me that I can’t shake off but I played with Jermain Defoe down the middle on his own last year so it cannot be really associated with me after that.

“Working on people’s strengths is the main factor. People said Defoe cannot play up front on his own but that is what he did all last season and scored 18 goals.”

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Sam Allardyce: New England manager’s football philosophy

Allardyce on players standing up

“It is not potential anymore, it has to be reality and they have to stand up and be counted. The young players have a lot of experience now and some has been bitter. They don’t want to feel like that again.

“Potential is not a word I want to use, you want the quality player to produce his best performances immediately. This squad of players is very experienced and going forward hopefully will produce better.”

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