The England job has to be one of the toughest positions in world football. The pressure and expectation of the public and media can lead to manager’s having long and successful careers tarnished. The job itself is nothing short of a poisoned chalice. The departure of Sam Allardyce has left big questions that need answering about corruption within English football and what can be done to regulate it. In a purely footballing sense, who is the best man for the FA to appoint now?
One name that has been thrown into the hat following the disappointing departure of Allardyce is Arsene Wenger. The current Arsenal manager recently celebrated his 20th anniversary with the Gunners and is by far and away the most successful candidate that has been linked with the job so far. The Frenchman has enjoyed a hugely successful two decades with Arsenal and is one of the most well-known and respected managers in the game. Despite a relatively lean spell achievement-wise over the past few years, Wenger continues to nourish and develop players to play within his system which has won him plaudits throughout his career in the English game.
It is the opinion of some that the manager of the England football team should be from that same nation. However, the last three English appointments have yielded very poor results and it is perhaps time to step away from this mentality. Wenger has a tremendous amount of knowledge about English football – he has won the Premier League on three occasions as well as 6 FA Cups. The Frenchman has also spent his entire English football career at the very top of the game, so his understanding of the pressures of managing at the highest level would be a huge advantage for Wenger if he were to take the England job.
One of the major downsides to potentially appointing Wenger is that the FA would have to play the long game. The Frenchman is contracted to Arsenal and won’t take 20 years of service lightly, so it is unlikely that he would even consider the job at the moment. However, if the FA are willing to wait for Wenger it could prove to be a fantastic appointment and a far better option than rushing to select a new manager and risking a repeat of previous English managerial efforts.
The stakes are undoubtedly high for the FA following the departure of Allardyce and the pressure is really on to get the next appointment right. The England team have very little identity or leadership within the team at the moment and whoever gets the job will need to address that immediately in order to get the public back on-side. The football and style that Arsene Wenger has implemented on his side has a very clear DNA and it has been shown in the past that when the system works – it can bring fantastic results.
There are four clear rivals for the England job who will definitely be up for consideration. One of the favourites is Steve Bruce, who would represent a similar appointment to Allardyce in terms of his experience within the game and his managerial style. The second is Alan Pardew, who has a long career and experience of the lower divisions of the game and has become a respected Premier League manager. The third and fourth are Eddie Howe and Gareth Southgate, who represent a younger breed of manager and would appease many who want a more modern manager to take over. However, none of these managers even come close to Arsene Wenger in terms of knowledge of managing at the very highest level or success.
It will be difficult decision for the FA as to who will succeed Sam Allardyce as the England manager. Southgate has found himself in a good position as he has a chance to impress over the next few games while the FA begin their search for a successor. It will be interesting to see whether the FA will ignore the potential pitfalls of chasing Arsene Wenger, or whether they will play it safe and appoint another English manager. These are important to factors to weigh up as the FA hopes to move on as quickly as possible following the appointment of Sam Allardyce.
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