Sam Allardyce has been hailed the “prime candidate” for the vacant England manager’s job by one of his former assistants – as the Sunderland boss reportedly held talks with the FA yesterday.
Allardyce returned from Sunderland’s pre-season training camp in Austria on Monday morning with club sources, as well as those close to the Black Cats boss, insisting it was for transfer business.
But there was widespread speculation that Allardyce had flown back to the UK for talks with the FA and that now appears to have been the case after pictures emerged of Allardyce apparently outside the Cheshire home of FA vice-chairman David Gill yesterday.
It comes as close friend Phil Brown insisted the Sunderland manager is the ideal candidate to give England their identity back.
Allardyce lost out to Steve McClaren 10 years ago but he has been heavily linked with the job since Roy Hodgson stepped down after the humiliating Euro 2016 exit to Iceland.
“The one thing you associate with English supporters and the one thing you would normally associate with England players, would be the passion,” Brown told talkSPORT.
“But we let ourselves down from a passion point of view, especially in the game against Iceland, and that’s unforgivable.
“Sam wouldn’t allow that. If it happens once, it would never happen again with him.
“These players need to understand that they represent their country.
“Bring your quality and your little bits of magic, that’s what these players can do, but it’s the understanding of what playing for the badge is all about - that’s what Sam would bring.
“He also just brings the common man to the game again.
“He was brought up in Bolton and spent the majority of his time in Lancashire.
“It’s the common man who supports the game and it’s who you need to relate to, and I think that’s what Sam would bring as well.
“I think he’s a prime candidate,” added Brown, who spent six years as Allardyce’s number two at Bolton.
“I think the job is his if he wants it, if you ask me. There aren’t many prime English candidates about.”