Inbound England boss Sam Allardyce is tasked with winning the nation’s first piece of silverware in 52 years, but his record in cup competitions at club level undermines his chances of guiding the Three Lions to a 20/1-rated World Cup conquest in 2018.
Since he first became a Premier League manager in 2001, Big Sam has embarked upon no fewer than 26 quests to land domestic silverware.
Not one has ended triumphantly, with the 2004 League Cup final defeat to Middlesbrough when in charge of Bolton Wanderers the closest he came to hoisting a tin of any description. Two additional semi-final appearances in the same competition are his only other noteworthy accomplishments in the pursuit of trophies.
Worryingly for England, who were eliminated from Euro 2016 by Iceland in their first knockout match of the tournament, Allardyce has overseen opening-round exits in seven of his 13 forays into the FA Cup, including in four his last five campaigns, while his League Cup interests have been ended three times at this point too.
Perhaps his positions at the helms of teams whose top priorities didn’t involve trips to the latter stages of non-league competitions are responsible for these cited struggles.
His most recent employers Sunderland couldn’t concern themselves with the FA Cup this season when the threat of relegation was, as it almost always is, a genuine one. He duly fielded a weakened team for their trip to Arsenal, where they were beaten 3-1.
West Ham United were preoccupied with winning promotion to the Premier League, then remaining in it when Allardyce was in charge, while survival was the primary objective for Blackburn Rovers and Bolton too.
Arguably the only outfit the 61-year-old has managed whose ambitions stretched beyond maintaining or obtaining top-flight status was Newcastle United, but they sacked him after just six months on the job.
Allardyce is an expert instiller of stability, but knockout football isn’t a specialty of his.