A new era will get underway on Sunday when Sam Allardyce takes charge of his first game as England manager.
Allardyce, who was interviewed for the England job 10 years ago before the FA opted for Sven-Goran Eriksson, replaced Roy Hodgson following a terrible Euro 2016.
Having seen England exit the 2014 World Cup in the group stages, and lose to Iceland in the last-16 in France, an entire country is hoping Allardyce can turn the Three Lions into a competitive nation.
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The former Sunderland manager’s tenure gets underway in Slovakia on Sunday as England kickstart their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.
England drew 0-0 against Jan Kozak’s team three months ago. But in the less stressful situation of Slovenia’s City Arena, which has a capacity of 19,200, fans will be disappointed if Allardyce doesn’t get his reign underway with three points.
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Big Sam’s first England line-up has been revealed. New era, new faces? Sadly not.
Eight of the players who started in the embarrassing 2-1 defeat to Iceland will receive another chance to represent their country. No wonder fans sense the Ghost of Roy Hodgson hanging over England.
Big Sam's first XI
Here’s the XI that will start against Slovakia:
(4-3-2-1) Hart; Walker, Cahill, Stones, Rose; Dier, Henderson; Lallana, Rooney, Sterling; Kane.
Clearly, Allardyce hasn’t watched a Liverpool game this season otherwise Jordan Henderson wouldn’t be in the team. Meanwhile, Harry Kane hasn’t scored in his last seven competitive games for club or country.
That’s not to say the Tottenham striker isn’t deserving of his place in the side, but there’s a reason fans are clamouring for Jamie Vardy on social media.
Check out the reaction to England’s XI below. To say fans are unimpressed is an understatement.
Allardyce will be hoping that John Stones, Wayne Rooney and Raheem Sterling can replicate their bright starts in domestic action on the international stage.
“There is massive pressure to win, yes, and a huge need to, at the very least, come back with a result,” Allardyce said, per The Guardian.
“I have watched their home matches. All the analysis lads have clipped all their home games in the qualifiers and they seem to start pretty quickly and score the goals pretty early.
“I didn’t watch the game in the Euros because I think different tactics will be used by Slovakia when they are playing at home. They only needed a point in the Euros, so they sat back, were very defensively minded and really chose not to attack at all.”