With the England managerial position now up for grabs after the resignation of Roy Hodgson, there is bound to be no shortage of suitors. Despite their recent poor performances in the last two major tournaments they have played in, the role is still regarded as one of the plum jobs in international football.
The debate has already started about whether the key decision makers go the way of hiring another homegrown coach, or whether they look to a foreign alternative once again. If they do choose the first option, Alan Pardew is a person that would snap up the opportunity in a heartbeat.
Pardew divides opinion among critics and fans alike. Many find him arrogant, abrasive and a little bit too self-confident for someone who is still searching for his first major honour as a manager. Be that as it may, one thing the 54-year-old has in his list of credits is that he is extremely battle hardened and not afraid of a fight.
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The cauldron of St James' Park is not for the faint-hearted. Despite being far from the favoured choice among the Geordie faithful and looking like he was on his last legs on numerous occasions he soldiered on, claiming a number of notable results along the way and showing a level of resilience even his biggest detractors must have admired. When he left the north-east club after four years to manage one of his old teams Crystal Palace, he steered them into a top ten position in his first season.
This past season was far from smooth sailing and included a 14-game winless run which brought whispers that his job was on the line. However, among the gloom came an FA Cup run which brought them all the way to the final before their hearts were broken by Manchester United. The cup run was another sign of Pardew being able to lift his player's spirits despite their league form not going to plan.
While contenders like Sam Allardyce have strong cases, you just feel his time was after the reign of Sven Goran Eriksson when he was doing superb work at Bolton. This is not to downplay the fine survival job he did at Sunderland this season, but there are question marks on how he relates to players of a higher standard, compared to what he is used to managing on a day to day basis at club level.
While Eddie Howe who has done a fine job at Bournemouth, the opportunity this time around has come just a bit too soon as he still has a bit to prove at the Premier League level.
Pardew will bring a level of charisma not seen in the role of England manager for a long time. He bleeds for the cause and kicks every ball on the touchline as if it is his last. As his numerous scraps with opposition managers and even the occasional player have shown, he will stick up for his team at all costs.
Let's not fool ourselves, the available field of candidates is not what you call 'stellar' by any means, but sometimes this situation can pay major dividends. For example, who in their right mind realistically thought the choice of Claudio Ranieri by Leicester would prove the masterstroke it has turned out to be.
There is a general feeling of apathy about the national team at this present time, and Pardew is the man to bring some much-needed pride and passion back to the Three Lions.
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