Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce will be named as England's new manager very shortly, reports suggest. The 61-year-old appears to have seen off competition from fellow candidates including Steve Bruce of Hull City and USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann in a bid to succeed Roy Hodgson, following the Three Lions' humiliating Euro 2016 exit at the hands of Iceland in Nice.
According to the London Evening Standard, the Football Association (FA) will announce their decision over the coming days and Allardyce, currently on pre-season duty in Hartlepool, will take the reins in a friendly match against an as yet unknown opponent at Wembley Stadium on September 1, before overseeing the first fixture of the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign against Slovakia.
The Sun, meanwhile, believe confirmation of the appointment will come within the next 24 hours and claim that it was an ability to impose a clear identity on defensively solid, hardworking teams that set him apart from his rivals during the interview process. FA chief executive Martin Glenn declined to put a time frame on the search during an interview with BBC Sport earlier on Wednesday (20 July), but did admit that they were "getting close".
While his abrasive and frequently uncompromising style of football is certainly not to everyone's tastes, Allardyce, a tough, moustacheod defender during his playing days, has amassed a wealth of managerial experience in English football during spells in charge of Blackpool, Notts County, Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United.
After his departure from the latter was confirmed just minutes after a 2-0 final-day defeat at St James' Park in May 2015, he spent five months out of frontline management before taking over at hapless Sunderland following the resignation of Dick Advocaat. Charged with ensuring that the Black Cats did not suffer relegation to the second tier for the first time in a decade, he eventually fulfilled that survival brief with one match to spare, despite the club spending 237 days marooned in the bottom three and never rising any higher in the table than 17th.
Sunderland released a rather irate statement last week to confirm that they had reluctantly granted permission for the FA to speak to Allardyce regarding the vacant England job, but called for a quick decision as to limit the damage done to their preparations for the 2016/17 Premier League season. They kick off the new campaign with a tough trip to Pep Guardiola's Manchester City on Saturday 13 August.
"The Football Association contacted Sunderland AFC to seek permission to speak with our manager as part of what was supposed to be a confidential discussion process with potential candidates for the position of England manager," read a message on their official website. "At Sam Allardyce's request, we agreed to this.
"Sam is very much key to our plans. After what was an extremely challenging season, we are keen to see a period of stability, both on and off the field, and we want him to remain as manager of our football club. The ongoing speculation over Sam's position is extremely damaging to Sunderland AFC, particularly at this crucial time of the season and we urge the FA to respect the disruption that this process is causing and bring about a swift resolution to the matter."