Six headaches awaiting Sam Allardyce as England boss

Sam Allardyce is set to be given the most high-profile task of his managerial career when he takes over as England boss.
After England’s failed Euro 2016 campaign – that ended with an ignominious defeat to Iceland – there’s plenty for the 61-year-old to do in order to restore confidence within the national team. Here we look at what the pressing issues that Allardyce must address at the start of this reign.

1. How to restore confidence
England’s players looked gripped by fear when the going got tough against Iceland. Allardyce is famed for his man-management and credited with reviving the careers of players who many thought were past their prime. Repairing the damaged confidence of the likes of Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley would be a good start.

2. What to do with wayne Rooney
Rooney has so far escaped the post-Euro 2016 cull to remain as captain, but retaining him as a midfielder would appear to be folly. Allardyce is the type of straight-shooter who you imagine would look to put England’s all-time leading goalscorer as close to goal as possible. The only problem with that… is Rooney still England’s best strike option? With the likes of Harry Kane, Daniel Sturridge and Jamie Vardy around that might not necessarily be true, and if Rooney’s not playing can he still be captain? Over to you Sam.

3. What to do with Joe Hart

Like Rooney, Joe Hart has reason to feel like there’s some uncertainty over his place. The Manchester City goalkeeper had a shocker at Euro 2016 and with Jack Butland expected to be fully fit in time for the new season, the number one shirt is up for grabs and Allardyce has a big decision to make.

4. The set-piece routines
Harry Kane taking corners? Not on Big Sam’s watch. Allardyce is meticulous when it comes to working on set-piece routines on the training ground. England need to be more of a threat from dead-ball situations, and better at defending them after being undone by a simple long throw in the defeat to Iceland.

5. Putting square pegs in square holes
Rooney is not a midfielder. Sturridge is not a winger. Hodgson’s muddled thinking cost England dearly in France. Allardyce chooses a system and sticks with it, picking the best players in those positions. Although his preference for one up front may leave a few strikers disappointed.

6. Finding the best style of play to make England function
The Football Association still appears wedded to the concept of the ‘England DNA’ but there is a strong case for English players getting back to doing what they traditionally do best. Defensive solidity allied to attacking with power, pace and aggression, precisely what Allardyce preaches. It may not be pretty, but pragmatic football did not do Portugal any harm this summer.

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