LONDON: Sam Allardyce looks to be in pole position to become the next England manager after his club Sunderland revealed yesterday they granted at his request permission to speak to the Football Association.
The 61-year-old Englishman, who was interviewed for the England job 10 years ago but lost out to Steve McClaren, spoke with the three-man FA panel on Tuesday about succeeding Roy Hodgson, who resigned after England were beaten by Iceland in the Euro 2016 last-16 clash. Sunderland, who Allardyce saved from relegation last term, made clear they wished the situation to be resolved as quickly as possible so they can prepare for another tough campaign in the Premier League.
“The Football Association contacted Sunderland AFC to seek permission to speak with our manager as part of what was supposed to be a confidential discussion process with potential candidates for the position of England manager,” read a statement from Sunderland. “At Sam Allardyce’s request, we agreed to this. “Sam is very much key to our plans. After what was an extremely challenging season, we are keen to see a period of stability, both on and off the field, and we want him to remain as manager of our football club. “The ongoing speculation over Sam’s position is extremely damaging to Sunderland AFC, particularly at this crucial time of the season and we urge the FA to respect the disruption that this process is causing and bring about a swift resolution to the matter.”
Meanwhile, Mamadou Sakho’s tale of woe continues apace with the revelation by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp the French international defender is set to miss the beginning of the Premier League campaign. The 26-year-old-who missed the Europa League final and Euro 2016 over a failed drugs test which he learnt last week UEFA would not be pursuing him over — is suffering from a niggling Achilles problem.
“Mama had a little issue with his Achilles when he was playing, one day on, one off, this kind of thing,” Klopp said. “When he had his little ‘break’ he used the time to have a little bit of treatment and that now means another three or four weeks before he can train again. “There was no surgery, he is just not about to train at the moment. He has got some rehab of course and it’s not too good a situation for him, for us, everybody. “It’s not important what I could say because everyone thinks the same. He’s here, he’s not available at the moment but he is doing rehab. We will see how he reacts to that and then when he can play again.” Sakho’s likely absence from the beginning of the season next month leaves Klopp short of central defenders. — AFP