Sam Allardyce won his first match as England manager, beating Slovakia 1–0 on a late goal from Adam Lallana. Every word of that sentence is true, I swear. Clearly, Big Sam already has the poisoned chalice that is the England job all figured out and his methods are pure genius. Get out a pen, Pep Guardiola, because you’ll want to take notes.
- Carry a lucky penny on matchdays
This is a no brainer. If you’re going to win with England, you’re going to need luck — even if you’re not superstitious. And Big Sam was gifted with his new lucky charm before the Slovakia match.
“I got this lucky penny off a lad today in the hotel,” he said, rolling the coin between his fingers.
“A father and his son in a wheelchair came to the hotel this morning and asked if it was okay to have a picture. When we finished he said: ‘Let me give you a lucky coin’. Here it is. I had it with me in my pocket, we won, so it’ll stay with me.
“I’m not really superstitious but I’m going to keep it. It’s got us a last-minute winner. I wonder how far it will take us.”
So, to be as clear as a crystal ball, it was the penny that got England a last-minute winner and not Adam Lallana’s foot or Sam’s tactics. And it’s the penny that will determine England’s fortunes under Sam “I’m Not Really Superstitious” Allardyce. Alex Ferguson probably had a pocket full of lucky coins. And Alf Ramsey refused to carry paper money entirely.
2. Let Wayne Rooney do whatever the hell he wants
After the failure that was England’s Euro 2016 showing, there was fierce debate as to whether Wayne Rooney should be in the team at all going forward, let alone remain captain. So what does Big Sam do? Name him captain and let him roam free, like an aging water buffalo.
From the BBC:
“Wayne played wherever he wanted to,” said Allardyce. “He did play a little deeper than I thought he’d play, but I was pleased with his performance.” […]
“It’s not for me to say where he’s going to play,” said the former Sunderland, West Ham, Newcastle and Bolton boss, 61. “It’s up to me to ask whether he’s doing well in that position and contributing.”
“IT’S NOT FOR ME TO SAY WHERE HE’S GOING TO PLAY,” says Sam Allardyce, England manager. Not Sam Allardyce, London taxi driver. Sam Allardyce, England manager. The one and only man who does have the place to say where Wayne Rooney plays.
To be fair, Roy Hodgson did show how disastrous things can go when an England manager does take responsibility for telling his players what to do, so maybe Sam is onto something here.
Speaking of Roy Hodgson, that leads us to…
3. Joke around with the players about the dumb things your predecessor did
From the BBC:
Asked if he expected to take corners again, Kane said: “Probably not.
“We had a bit of a laugh and a joke with the manager [Allardyce] about it, but it’s something that happened.”
“So if I’m not taking corners, what should I do, boss?”
“I dunno, ask Wayne.”
4. Dance like no one is watching
Big Sam: Finding love in a hopeless place.