Football, Rugby, UFC, GAA
All free when you join eir Broadband
Sam Allardyce feels is it 'far too early' to say whether Wayne Rooney will continue as England captain for the upcoming 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Rooney was handed the England captaincy by Roy Hodgson in August 2014, the same month he was named Manchester United skipper, but his future in the national team has been called into question following the Three Lions' poor Euro 2016 campaign.
Allardyce will take charge of England for the first time when the qualifying campaign begins against Slovakia on September 4 and he will wait until he has had a chance to assess his squad before making a decision on the captaincy.
"It is far too early to make any predictions and will not make any decisions until I meet the players and coaching staff. It is my first day in and getting my feet under the table and meeting everyone," Allardyce told his first press conference since his appointment on a two-year deal.
Allardyce was first interviewed for the job in 2006 following Sven-Goran Eriksson's departure but missed out to Steve McClaren.
Having all but given up on managing the national team, Allardyce believes he is the right man for the job and feels his man management skills will prove decisive.
“It is ten years since I was last interviewed and to be here is a huge thrill for me," said the new England manager," he explained.
"I fit the chair, I hope I do and I have the experience to pass on and to challenge the team and myself the five Premier League club has given me a huge experience, no-one else has done that. Man management is my biggest asset. One - to help the players enjoy themselves and two - to make them better than they already are."
Allardyce has led Notts County, Bolton and West Ham to promotion, while he kept Sunderland in the Premier League last season, but some have questioned whether he has the necessary experience to manage England.
“I have managed some world class players. Fernando Hierro, Youri Djorkaeff, Jay-Jay Okocha, Gary Speed, Nicolas Anelka and Michael Owen. I have managed some talented players, the good thing about that is they make your life easier, they know what you want," Allardyce said.
"Working with the England elite players will be very exciting for me because they will take on board ideas very quickly. Winning no trophies or cups, unfortunately, as an English manager I never got to go right to the top of the Premier League.
"I saved clubs and never got relegated, and they are not the same as winning the FA Cup or Capital One Cup, but they are big achievement."
Hodgson stepped down less than an hour after England were beaten by Iceland in the last-16 stage of Euro 2016 but Allardyce feels he can turn things around in the coming months.
"I wouldn’t suggest we are at rock bottom," Allardyce responded when asked if England were at their lowest ebb following their Euro 2016 exit.
"People see me as being able to turn a club around very quickly and that comes around by taking West Ham up, keeping Blackburn and Sunderland up but I consider myself to have much more than that label.
"I can turn things around quickly and get amongst staff and create a successful journey and that starts by us all pulling together."
When asked whether he is up to the pressure that will come with being the England manager, Allardyce said: "I am hardened over many years. You take the good with the bad or don’t bother. I am here because I want the challenge and I think I can make the team better and I think I am tough enough to take it so bring it on, lads!"