Why the patriotic Sam Allardyce is a rare breed in modern football

by Andy Dillon / 13 October 2015, 13:25

Sam AllardyceThe Sun's Andy Dillon (@andydillon70) looks at why the new Sunderland boss, Sam Allardyce, is unique in the fact that he actually wants to manage his country, in contrast to the majority of modern managers.

SAM ALLARDYCE is a rare thing in football.

Fans of clubs he has managed in the past will have a lot to say about that for good and bad reasons.

But there is no denying that Big Sam is an increasingly rare breed in modern football because he actually WANTS to manage England.

Not just the Three Lions for that matter, look around Europe and it's hard to find a current boss who really fancies having a pop at managing their country.

Allardyce came out with it only this week - on Monday to be precise.

The fact that it coincided with his first day facing a pretty big job trying to turn around Sunderland's fading fortunes might not be considered the best timing.

With the team second from bottom in The Premier League and a mountainous task just trying to stay up you would think Allardyce might have chosen his moment to flash his knickers at The FA a little bit better.

But that is beside the point. The main thing is that patriotic Sam has been overlooked of the England job once before but he wants it still.

And with current England manager Roy Hodgson's contract up next summer after Euro 2016 - who knows?

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Sam AllardyceMy guess is that while Allardyce may still fancy managing England, he still has zero chance of getting it because he divides opinion too much over his tactics.

But that's because he is 60. Only recently two of his peers have been linked with managing their respective home nations and both have given it a big thumbs down.

International management is becoming an old man's game.

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman is the first.

As the men who have given the world total football the Dutch have punched above their weight consistently in the international arena and are considered one of the big guns: any tournament without the orange hordes of Holland fans is a far less engaging spectacle.

Right now it is total carnage on the pitch for under fire coach Danny Blind, who is expected to get his marching orders, even if he drags his massively underperforming squad into Euro 2016. Dutch clubs do not possess the financial clout to make serious inroads into The Champions League these days so the national team is still the standard bearer for the country.

Koeman played 78 times for Holland so understands the feel of the fabric and the pull of the famous orange shirt.

Yet at 52 he has been at great pains to insist he is not tempted by the offer of taking over one of the plum roles in world football. He would prefer to stay with Saints for another two years at least until his contract expires and you'd guess he'll move on to a bigger club even after that.

Jose Mourinho has spoken gushingly about his love for Portugal - but it's a passion he is happy to keep at arm's length for quite a while yet.

The same age as Koeman, The Special One is under the cosh at Chelsea and speculation is growing daily that he could soon be sacked.

Yet Mourinho has declared he will manage his home country if required in about 'five or ten years' time.

For now he would rather have Chelsea's demanding owner Roman Abramovich breathing down his neck and put up with the controversy and conflict of club management as opposed to taking Portugal to a succession of tournaments and enjoy the last few years of Cristiano Ronaldo's career.

Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew has been heavily tipped as a future England manager but why would he swap a high-flying Eagles side for a vastly underachieving international squad.

The balance of power has shifted from international to club football in terms of priorities for players and for managers too.

As well as a shrinking pool of talent to put into a team there will soon be a shrinking pool of available blokes to manage it.

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