With Sam Allardyce all set to be confirmed as the next England boss; here are five players who could earn call-ups from him for the World Cup qualifiers.
Kevin Nolan would have been on this list had Allardyce got the job in 2006 when he was first interviewed for the post, before the ‘Wally with the Brolly’ Steve McClaren was preferred, but now at 34 he might just be considered past it, even by Big Sam.
But when Allardyce is appointed as the next England manager by the big-wigs at the Football Association, what can we expect from his England squad?
The 61-year-old has tended to stick with the experienced old guard in his managerial reign to date and he was obviously scarred by the 5-0 defeat West Ham suffered in the FA Cup at Championship Nottingham Forest after fielding numerous youngster,
“You only have to look at when I played the youngsters in the FA Cup (last season, a 5-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest) and got slaughtered for it, ” bemoaned Allardyce in February 2015.
In the light of that we might well expect Allardyce to rely on the tried and tested, rather than the emerging young talent.
Andy Carroll (27)
While he was in charge at West Ham, Allardyce claimed the big frontman was “unstoppable” after he scored twice in the 3-1 win over Swansea in December 2014. However, Allardyce has criticised the former Newcastle man in the past and he took a swipe at him in his recent autobiography and told the Sun: “Andy Carroll could be an ever better player if he pushed himself and put the work in. He tells you he does – but he doesn’t always do it.
“He doesn’t really like watching football and isn’t interested in the history of the game.
“He treats life a little bit too casually. He also gets himself into situations off the pitch which a manager can do without – and so can he.”
But Allardyce, who managed Carroll at Newcastle and paid £15million for him at West Ham, undoubtedly has a soft spot for the 6ft 4in Geordie and would most probably see improving Carroll on the international stage as a perfect ego-massaging project.
Mark Noble (29)
He was the hipsters’ choice to make the England squad for Euro 2016, but in truth he was behind Leicester’s title-winner Danny Drinkwater in the pecking order. He was another player who played for Allardyce at Upton Park and a player Big Sam claimed was a dying breed of one-club men.
The love is not unreciprocated though and Noble voiced his support for the Hammers boss when he was public enemy no. 1 at the Boleyn Ground in 2014.
“I support the gaffer because I have played every single game under Sam since he has come and I’ve won two Hammer of the Year awards,” said Noble, who also denied he had been told by Allardyce to buy into his infamous ‘hoof it’ tactics.
“The gaffer has never asked me to boot it. I try to get on the ball and make us play as much as possible and that’s what has happened,” he enthused.
Noble, who scored seven time and created four assists last term, though will surely have a smile from ear-to-ear if Big Sam gets his feet under the table at St Gerorge’s Park.
Jermain Defoe (33)
Too old for an England recall? Don’t believe it if Big Sam gets the gig, because Defoe will be straight into the reckoning for England’s World Cup qualifiers.
He pretty much kept the Black Cats up with a magnificent haul of 18 goals for the club and his lethal finishing was more than a pleasant surprise for Allardyce, who had probably banked on a tight defence being the key to their survival.
Many people, mostly from Wearside, touted Defoe as an England Euro 2016 striker, but despite taking five strikers Defoe was not on the plane to France and instead it was left to Harry Kane to show the world he looked like a pub player instead of repeating the form he had shown in the last two seasons, which saw him blast 64 goals.
Would Defoe have converted one or two of the chances that were afforded to England in Marseille, Saint-Etienne and Nice? Yes, most probably and if he was looking to play with two strikers in the qualifying campaign then you can bet that former Spurs man Defoe will be involved.
Ryan Shawcross (28)
Shawcross like Allardyce is unfashionable but effective and the former Manchester United centre-back could well see his England credentials realised again if Big Sam has his way.
We’re not blessed with defenders who can defend and if the ball-playing John Stones is the future in defence then someone who likes, and is capable of defending, like Shawcross would be an interesting partner.
Forget Shawcross’ England debut from the bench too when he was terrorised for 25 minutes by Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2012.
“I’m the butt of the joke in my family, just because the 10 minutes I had in international football was ruined by one man,” said Shawcross reflecting on the performance. “They are consistently saying that Zlatan ruined my career! I had a chance and I don’t think many other defenders have stopped him.”
Aaron Cresswell (26)
Another of Allardyce’s recruits at West Ham and a full-back who is not too far away from the England set-up.
Allardyce signed the left-back from Ipswich for close to £4million from Ipswich in 2014 and he has progressed nicely for the Hammer and his next step up would be a call-up by the Three Lions.
“When a player takes a step up a level you can never quite know how he’ll cope. Sometimes it takes a while but the great start we’ve had has helped. We’re a third of the way through the season and that has helped as well. Overall he has done fantastically,” Big Sam said in December 2014.
The importance of Allardyce in Cresswell’s progression has also not been lost on the former Tranmere man who hailed Allardyce when he left in 2015: “I’d like to thank the gaffer who gave me the opportunity to play for the club and has been brilliant with me.”
There are a whole plethora of England class full-backs out there and there’s no reason to see why Cresswell could not step up again and assert himself at the top level.