Sam Allardyce begins his career at the helm of England national team on Sunday as his side take on Slovakia in their opening World Cup qualification fixture.
The game is the first since England’s dismal exit from Euro 2016 at the hands of the tournament’s surprise package Iceland, which led to the almost immediate resignation of former manager Roy Hodgson after four years in charge.
Those four years have been tough watching for the home nation and its fans, as England continually flattered deceive through Hodgson’s tenure – comfortably dominating their qualifying campaigns and pre-tournament friendly but ultimately becoming a no-show on the big stage.
Not only was it tough to watch, but the figures left behind by Hodgson and his team don’t exactly read well either. 11 games, three wins, five draws and three losses with an overall win percentage of 27.3% stands the former West Brom and Liverpool manager’s record – hardly the stuff of potential World Cup winners.
As for England under Allardyce, the only way seems to be up. Fans will be hoping that the former West Ham man can bring the team spirit and never say die attitude so many of his former clubs have possessed with him onto the world stage – something the side lacked in the past three major tournaments.
Big Sam named his first squad ahead of the fixture on Sunday, most of which came as no shock except the inclusion of in-form West Ham winger Michail Antonio and the exclusion of Bournemouth’s new man Jack Wilshere.
A big result is vital for England in their first game under new management, but how should Allardyce and co. line-up this weekend?
We think this would be the perfect starting XI …..
Time for Joe Hart to step up and prove himself. A major set back in his Manchester City career saw him move on loan to Torino for the season in search of first team football/better weather. Hart needs to make Pep Guardiola realise he may have made a mistake.
How Kyle Walker makes the starting XI over this lad continues to bemuse me, and anyone that says the pair are ‘near enough the same player’ obviously have never watched either of them play.
Clyne is better defensively, and has a far superior end product going forward. Under-rated.
£50million is hefty price tag to have on your shoulders, especially at the ripe old age of 22.
Stones has began his Manchester City career in fantastic fashion however, putting in some solid performances as Pep Guardiola continues his 100% start to his career at the Etihad.
Cahill struggled for form last season in what was a dismal campaign for Chelsea as they finished a lowly 10th in the Premier League. The former Bolton man looks to be approaching his best again under new Blues boss Antonio Conte.
Fantastic for Tottenham last season in their club record breaking campaign, Rose was dynamic, aggressive, collective and positionally sound throughout – all the qualities you want from your right back.
He struggled for England at Euro 2016, but cannot be to blame as he was thrown into a half-sharp side for his big tournament debut.
Many England fans would have voted for Eric Dier has their player of the tournament at Euro 2016, and they wouldn’t have been wrong. The Tottenham midfielder played with an assurance and confidence far beyond his years and experience. One of the first names on the team sheet.
Big Sam has seen the light – something that Roy Hodgson failed to do. Drinkwater has been the most consistent midfielder in the Premier League over the past season and a bit, continuing his fine form into the beginning of the new campaign. Deserves his chance to shine and show what he can do.
A man re-born so it seems this year, Sterling has had an almost unimaginable start to the new season considering his efforts last time out and for England during the summer.
The City winger was a scapegoat for England’s awful performances, but has shown he has the ability to perform when filled with confidence. Hopefully Allardyce can do exactly as Guradiola has done at City.
Why not give the new boy a chance? I dare anybody to name an English winger who has been in better form over the last nine months than Michail Antonio.
The West Ham winger’s endeavour and ability have carried him all the way from non-league to a Premier League goal scorer and now potential England debutant. Plays with a smile on his face and always gives 100%, could teach some of the others likewise.
Argue if you will, but Lallana for me is one of, if not the most talented player England have produced since Wayne Rooney.
Yes he may not have a killer instinct in the box, but the Liverpool midfielder posses mesmeric footwork, brilliant movement and an ability to make things happen by finding spaces that don’t exist on the pitch.
Lallana would be more highly rated if he played on the continent.
Picking your in-form players is vital, and also picking your players that will work together as a team is also key.
England kept the ball so well at the Euro’s but ultimately failed to create any chances, so why not try a different, more direct approach this time around.
With Danny Drinkwater in the squad and two out-and-out wingers, Vardy could thrive running in behind.