Davies backs Allardyce to be a success for England
Kevin Davies, one of Sam Allardyce's most trusted former players, believes the new England manager already has a blueprint for success with the national side.
Former PNE striker Davies was a mainstay of Allardyce’s Bolton side in the mid-2000s and is delighted to see his old boss land the biggest job of his life.
The appointment comes 10 years after he first went close to becoming England manager and while Steve McClaren, Fabio Capello and Roy Hodgson have all failed to bring glory to the Three Lions in the past decade, Davies believes Allardyce, who has played for and managed North End, has spent the time honing his own plans.
“I’m sure he’s going to be a success,” Davies, who won a solitary England cap under Capello, told Sky Sports News.
“I think this is something he’s been thinking about for a number of years. I feel he has plans in place. Looking at our tournament failures I think he knows already what he feels has gone wrong and how he can make it better for us.
“The first thing that strikes you about him is his ambition, his determination to be the best, and that filters through to his players.”
Allardyce has never managed a Champions League-level club, a fact that some doubters suggest counts against him on the international stage, but Davies is confident the 61-year-old has what it takes.
“He’s one of those managers you want to play for,” he said. “He’s got that character about him, he’s a big personality.
“He knows when to push, when to give the carrot, when to crack the whip. His man-management skills for me - and I’ve worked under a dozen or so managers - are second to none.”
Fellow ex-North Ender Neil McDonald, who worked for Allardyce at Bolton and Blackburn before becoming his assistant for four years at West Ham, was equally upbeat.
He rejected the notion that Allardyce teams are simple purveyors of long-ball tactics - a characterisation that infuriates the new England boss.
“Yes, we did score goals from free-kicks and corners, which is a vital part of the game...but it wasn’t always long ball,” he said.
“That’s unfair with the players he’s recruited and bought. Jay-Jay Okocha certainly wasn’t a long player, Youri Djorkaeff wasn’t a long player, Mark Noble’s not a long player.
“Unfortunately some big teams didn’t like us beating them, so they labelled us physical and long-ball which stuck.
“It’s just finding a way of winning.”
Former England defender Jamie Carragher, who came up against Allardyce’s teams throughout his long Liverpool career, supported the FA’s decision.
He believes the national manager must be English and saw Allardyce as the most appealing homegrown candidate.
“I’m pleased for Sam because it’s a job he’s been coveting for probably a decade or so,” he added.
“International football is our best against other people’s best. That should not just include the players, it should include the manager. I think Sam Allardyce is England’s best at this moment.
“Every British or English manager will be hoping he does well. If he does, hopefully it will kick-start it for others to get big jobs.”