Despite a forgettable experience as England manager, Sam Allardyce once again proved why he was initially selected for the role after a very successful tenure with Crystal Palace.
With Big Sam now retiring, it’s time to look back on his highly successful managerial career – in which he has managed some of football’s best ever players. We will be using a narrow diamond to create the ultimate Allardyce match-day squad.
GK) Jussi Jaaskelainen
Finland's most legendary goalkeeper in Premier League history. Image Source: Twitter
Geremi deserves much more credit. Versatility on the right side. Image Source: RedCafe
CB) Fernando Hierro
Yep. This Real Madrid legend played under Big Sam at Bolton. Image Source: The I Newspaper
CB) Mamadou Sakho
The Liverpool outcast joins Hierro in defence. Image Source: Twitter
LB) Ricardo Gardner
The Jamaican wingback would be highly sought after in today's era of 3 at the back. Image Source: Lion of Vienna Suite
CDM) Ivan Campo
Great hair. Great technician. Image Source: Squawka
CM) Jay-Jay Okocha
Magical. Image Source: Twitter
CM) Kevin Nolan
Big Sam's favourite son. Image Source: Twitter
CAM) Youri Djorkaeff
What a midfield. Image Source: Twitter
ST) Michael Owen
England's last Ballon d'Or winner. Image Source: WhoAteAllThePies
ST) Jermain Defoe
A partnership to crave for England fans. Image Source: Twitter
SUB) Shay Given
Easily Ireland's best ever goalkeeper. Image Source: ChronicleLive
SUB) Michel Salgado
Narrowly misses out. Image Source: FIFA
SUB) Wayne Bridge
You're probably doing the eyes emoji at the moment. Image Source: Zimbio
SUB) Gary Speed
Legend. Image Source: Lion of Vienna Suite
SUB) James Milner
Mr. Reliable. Image Source: GiveMeSport
SUB) Morten Gamst Pedersen
Norway's best. Image Source: Squawka
SUB) Nicolas Anelka
Anelka's spot on the bench would have been controversial before Allardyce managed Defoe at Sunderland.
Image Source: Twitter
With players like Fernando Hierro, Michel Salgado, Youri Djorkaeff and Michael Owen on Big Sam’s coaching resume, no one can ever dismiss the significance of Allardyce’s career in football.
This is the right time for me. I have no ambitions to take another job, I simply want to be able to enjoy all the things you cannot really enjoy with the 24/7 demands of managing any football club, let alone one in the Premier League.
With retirement confirmed for the 62-year-old manager, it’s a nice ending after the negative perspective raised following dismissal from the England job; Allardyce deserved the chance to fix his reputation.
Big Sam proved that he’s still a top manager, achieving multiple results for Palace against the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal – who knows what would have been for England if the Dudley man was in charge for the next World Cup. Kevin Nolan would probably have came out of retirement.