Sam Allardyce chortled. The man chosen to manage England – not that he knew it at the time – had just been asked what he thought about the Football Association’s latest brainwave, namely employing specialist “in possession” and “out of possession” coaches. It was late April and Sunderland’s then manager remained embroiled in a relegation struggle. But he took time to debunk the idea with the sort of brutal common sense logic that seems set to ignite assorted bonfires of the vanities among England’s squad. Not to mention among some of the more corporate, jargon-obsessed types at St George’s Park national football centre.
By The Guardian