Vacancy: Manager of the England national football team
Hours: Varied, with some weekend and evening work
Experience: Coaching badges and previous management at home or abroad
The Football Association is looking for a strong-minded, tactically-savvy manager who will build a clear team identity and shape the national side into a cohesive unit.
Do you fit the bill?
- Where would you play Wayne Rooney?
- In fact, would you play Wayne Rooney?
- Is Joe Hart head and shoulders above his rivals?
- Are you a “we can win the 2018 World Cup” or “we’re building for 2022” person?
- Raheem Sterling – thoughts?
Send your CV and a covering letter to…
The Football Association is once again looking for someone to take on the so-called “impossible job”.
Several names have been touted to replace Roy Hodgson, but with many of the biggest names in football management recently committed to glamorous clubs, the following six men seem largely to be what the FA has to choose from:
Sam Allardyce, 61
Nationality: English Current club: Sunderland
The bookies favourite is the type of man you could imagine dressing up as St George on St George’s Day. A true patriot. Dudley-born “Big Sam” has previously touted himself for the role, but been ignored. His style of management was perhaps deemed, well, unfashionable?
Preparation: Allardyce is renowned for embracing sports science and how it can improve players. From cryotherapy chambers to yoga, the Sunderland boss is a firm believer in modern methods. He is also unforgiving on the training ground, requiring his players to train hard in order to be at peak fitness. England players would undoubtedly be well prepared under him.
Tactics: A long ball merchant? A little harsh. With Allardyce, it is about percentages – getting crosses into the box, set-piece drills and stout defending at all costs.
He described Hammers fans as “potty” in his autobiography after they apparently criticised him for their team not playing the “West Ham way” when he was manager. Allardyce is not interested in aesthetics. And shrugs off criticism (handy in the England job). Jose Mourinho accused Allardyce of West Ham employing “19th century football” tactics against Chelsea in the Portuguese’s second spell at the Blues. Allardyce’s response? “I don’t give a *****, to be honest.”
Some would say Allardyce wants his sides to avoid defeat, rather than go out and try to win. It worked for Portugal though, didn’t it?
Man-management: This is possibly his biggest strength and perhaps what England’s players need – a father figure with thick skin who is willing to take all the flak.
This is what he said after helping Sunderland avoid the drop last season: “If you manage your staff and your players, make tough decisions, you hope you earn the respect you have in the stadium. I try to make the atmosphere warm and inviting. The man-management side of it has always been good for me. It’s worked quite well.”
And remember how he lovingly grappled with One Direction’s Niall Horan at SoccerAid?
Stat: In total 21.0% of Sunderland’s passing under Allardyce last season was long – a figure two-and-a-half times higher than Arsenal’s under Arsene Wenger.
Arsene Wenger, 66
Nationality: French Current club: Arsenal
Could England hold out another year before making a long-term appointment?
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said he would consider the England role but only after the end of his current deal with Arsenal, which expires next summer.
But should England try to persuade Wenger to leave earlier?
Preparation: The Frenchman’s training methods have been blamed for causing injuries to Arsenal players. However, statistics for the first half of last season reveal the Gunners experienced fewer injuries than Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United.
“The general plan is to play in training like you do in the game, or even harder,” he told the club website in April 2015. “But some days you have to ease off completely and not have the intensity because you need to recover after games. But basically you need to give the players the same intensity they will face in a game.”
Tactics: Pass, pass, pass, shoo… no, maybe another pass first. Do England have the players that can skilfully knock the ball around the area and almost walk the ball into the net?
What about a longer ball ‘Plan B’, Arsene? No? OK then…
Man-management: In a Q&A session in Japan in 2013, this is what the Frenchman said about managing star players:
“You must know that a person, no matter how big a star he is, is ready to listen to you if it meets his needs. The condition for him to know if you meet his needs is to test you first: Is the manager capable of making him the player he wants to be.”
Wenger has handled a lot of big egos, which would come in handy if he manages England.
Stat: Wenger has an all-time Premier League win percentage of 57.7% – Allardyce’s win percentage is 33.6%.
Glenn Hoddle, 58
Nationality: English Current club: Team ITV
Been there, seen it and done it (fairly well).
If it wasn’t for those pesky penalties against Argentina, and then later his “serious error of judgement” when he made infamous comments about the disabled, we might today be talking about how Hoddle had by now led England to a major football title.
He recently said: “If I am asked to speak to the FA, my answer would be, ‘Any proud Englishman would want to discuss such an opportunity’. I would consider and listen to what the FA said.”
Preparation: Hoddle loved to join in with the training sessions, with some suggesting he was simply keen to still show he ‘had it’.
His participation didn’t go down well with some players of that era, but former internationals Alan Shearer and Rio Ferdinand have backed their former boss for a second crack at the job.
Hoddle was the talk of the backpages when Eileen Drewery, the faith healer, visited the England camp before the 1998 World Cup.
Full-back Gary Neville, in 2011, recalled that some players also took injections from Hoddle’s favourite medic and prior to a match the manager would “move around the players, shaking their hands and touching them just over the heart”.
What would Jamie Vardy make of all that?
Tactics: In a piece with ESPN after England’s Euro 2012 exit, Hoddle said he was in favour of packing the midfield in order to hunt the ball higher up the pitch.
A creative midfielder as a player, it is no surprise he is keen on ball retention rather than lumping it into the box from deep.
He also liked the sweeper system in his first stint in change, once even trying midfielder Jamie Redknapp in the defensive role.
Does he have right players in the current crop to fulfil his philosophies?
Stat: Hoddle’s win percentage as England manager – 60.7% – is the third best behind Fabio Capello and Sir Alf Ramsey.
Jurgen Klinsmann, 51
Nationality: German Current club: United States
He is a former Premier League player, a World Cup winner, an ex-manager of Germany and the current boss of the United States. He also uses phrases like “difference maker” – so what’s not to like?
According to some reports it is a straight fight between Allardyce and the German for the job.
Preparation: In an interview with the BBC in 2009, when he was Bayern Munich manager, Klinsmann said he introduced a “holistic” approach to preparation, but added it had not gone down too well at the German giants. Think Buddha statues around the training centre.
He has repeated this avant-garde approach with the United States team, with mixed results, but has also spent time trying to create a solid infrastructure for the national team from youth level upwards.
Under his guidance the US reached the knockout round of the 2014 World Cup and recently got to the last four of their home Copa America.
Tactics: Klinsmann has at times been lambasted for his tactical naivety during his managerial tenures.
Former Germany full-back Phillip Lahm said in 2011: The experiment with Klinsmann was a failure. We were only working on our fitness in training. He didn’t care much for tactical stuff. It was up to the players to come together before a match and discuss how we were going to play.”
Man-management: While Lahm and other Bayern players didn’t necessarily warm to Klinsmann, it is worth noting how he revived Germany between 2004 and 2006. After going out in the first round of Euro 2004, reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup was a distinct improvement and led to the previously-critical Franz Beckenbauer hoping Klinsmann continued as coach.
Stat: Klinsmann has a win ratio of 56% as US coach – Hodgson’s win ratio with England was 58.9%.
Eddie Howe, 38
Nationality: English Current club: Bournemouth
Now hiring Howe would be a radical move.
Many of his peers and those who have played under him have eulogised about the young manager.
Is he too inexperienced though?
Preparation: Howe’s ability to guide Bournemouth into the Premier League and keep them there without sacrificing their attractive playing style has been rightly lauded.
In an interview in 2015, he said: “I look for several things. Playing ability, of course, and where they fit into the team. I am very much against signing a player who is good, but you don’t know where he will fit in.
“You think, ‘I will mould him into the team’, but that usually doesn’t work. And character. We are not going to win the games that we did last year [in the Championship], you need the character to deal with disappointments.”
So would he be brave enough to drop established England stars in order to ensure the pieces fit?
Tactics: Almost the polar opposite of Allardyce. With Howe, it is about an attacking, passing style with the ball being played out from the back.
But like Allardyce, he is steadfast in his belief that his approach to the game is the right one.
Man-management: An insightful interview with The Guardian in 2014 revealed Howe’s acute attention to detail and work ethic.
It also highlighted his care for the individual.
“I always think that it’s important that you give players feedback, it’s something that I never really got,” he said. “You just played game to game, hoping you were doing all right, never really being told. I’ll always do the feedback on an individual basis.
“It’s probably my biggest drain in terms of time, but I think it’s one of the most important aspects I do.”
Stat: Howe’s Bournemouth conceded 20 goals from set-pieces – twice as many as Wenger’s Arsenal.
Steve Bruce, 55
Nationality: English Current club: Hull
Widely regarded as one of the nicest managers in English football, but surely the Hull manager is a long shot for the big job.
On Tuesday, he said he was “flattered” to be linked with the vacancy. Who mentioned him?
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