Sam Allardyce: Talented coach ‘doesn’t realise honour I’ve bestowed on him’

Robbie Stockdale
Robbie Stockdale

Sam Allardyce believes Robbie Stockdale can develop into one of the country’s top coaches after handing him a role in Sunderland’s backroom team.

Stockdale was promoted to Allardyce’s first-team coach last week after the new Sunderland boss opted against making an external appointment to his staff and kept faith with the former Middlesbrough defender and ex-Black Cats midfielder Paul Bracewell, who was named assistant manager.

I think Robbie can develop and evolve into a very, very good coach indeed

Sam Allardyce

Since taking charge of Sunderland’s Under-21s 18 months ago, Stockdale has steered the young Black Cats hopefuls to the top of the U21 Premier League and was placed in caretaker charge of the first-team after Dick Advocaat’s resignation earlier this month.

Allardyce was suitably impressed by what he immediately saw from Stockdale and believes the 35-year-old merited the chance to take a step up in his fledgling career.

“Robbie has impressed me as a young, ambitious and talented coach,” Allardyce said.

“That’s great for me to be able to promote a young man up to this position.

“I don’t think he quite realises the honour I have bestowed on him just yet, because these jobs are rare – there’s only 20 of them in the best league in the world – and he has a chance to grow.

“I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t think he had the capabilities, and hopefully he will blossom as one of the coaches of the future, as have many of the backroom staff who have worked with me and gone on to great things over the last 10 or 12 years.

“I think Robbie can develop and evolve into a very, very good coach indeed.”

Bracewell – who had been part of Dick Advocaat’s backroom team – is in the assistant manager’s position for the second time in his 32-year association with Sunderland after previously holding that role under Peter Reid.

It was Allardyce’s good friend Reid that proved the link between the pair, albeit they were briefly on the Sunderland coaching staff together in the mid-1990s.

But Allardyce believes Bracewell’s time at Sunderland as both a player and coach will be invaluable in lending a helping hand.

“Brace is an experienced man in terms of what he knows about what has gone on at Sunderland before I got here,” added Allardyce.

“I’ve known him – not as a good mate – but I’ve known him for a long because he is just as big a mate of Reidy as I am.

“His achievements as a player speak for themselves, and I always think that is important in terms of drive and desire that can be passed on to the players of today.

“He can be my eyes and ears, and can do a lot of the stuff that you can leave your assistant to take care of.”