The international break ushers in the most important two matches of Roy Hodgson’s England career. Beat Montenegro, which the Three Lions are priced at 2/5 to do, as well as Poland and the former Fulham man can start to plan for the World Cup in Brazil.
But should he fail to safely negotiate those last two qualifiers, the growing rabble of discontented fans will surely demand his head, with Sam Allardyce the best placed Englishman to take over.
Big Sam is not a long ball fiend
Allardyce proved in masterminding West Ham’s 3-0 win at White Hart Lane that he has a sharp tactical mind.
Often derided as nothing more than a long-ball lover, Allardyce set West Ham up in a 4-6-0 formation, the one tactic that is utterly useless if long-balls are used in tandem with it.
His game plan to nullify Tottenham’s expensively assembled attacking group worked perfectly in a famous win, and with England no longer seen as major tournament favourites that kind of left-field thinking would benefit the country’s less-heralded status.
He would be well suited to England’s current plight
Hodgson’s recent managerial history is synonymous with getting teams to punch above their weight. He took Fulham to the Europa League final two years after saving them from relegation and began the West Brom transformation from relegation fodder to stable Premier League outfit.
England’s current squad are of a similalrly unfancied ilk, with only Wayne Rooney recognised as a global footballing figure. Hiring a big name to work with middle of the road players would therefore make no sense, whereas bringing in Big Sam, who brought Bolton into the Premier League and kept them there, would continue that underdog theme.
His unwavering self-belief is just what an England boss needs
One thing is for certain, Allardyce is not a shrinking violet. During his time at Blackburn Sir Alex Ferguson’s favourite chum made the eyebrow-raising claim that, as a manager, he doesn’t suit clubs like Bolton and Blackburn but instead is the perfect fit for Real Madrid.
That kind of thick-skinned self-confidence is the perfect characteristic for an England manager. No manager has a bigger crowd to please than the England boss, and Allardyce’s ideas of grandeur make him the perfect candidate to try and achieve it.