Sam Allardyce can restore ‘bulldog spirit’ to England, says Terry Butcher

Sam Allardyce celebrates Sunderland's 'great escape'

Sam Allardyce celebrates Sunderland's 'great escape' - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Sam Allardyce can instil some ‘bulldog spirit’ in the England team and make them winners when it matters.

That’s the opinion of Three Lions and Ipswich Town legend Terry Butcher following the Football Association’s confirmation that the Sunderland boss would be replacing Roy Hodgson in the hot-seat.

“I think it’s a good appointment,” said Butcher, who earned 77 caps for his country, including seven as skipper.

“An important part of the criteria, for me, was that they went for an Englishman. I just think it’s easier for an Englishman to get their view across and get the respect from the players. More importantly, I think an Englishman understands the psyche and mentality of our players.

“I want us to get back to that bulldog spirit and there is no bigger bulldog than ‘Big Sam’.

“Whenever I played against him it was a fight, a battle, a real physical test.

“I know football is more balletic and more athletic these days, but there is nothing wrong with setting your team up to be hard to beat. Look at Portugal and how they have just won the European Championships.”

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With Allardyce having recently masterminded Sunderland’s great escape from Premier League relegation, Butcher continued: “Against Iceland it felt like a nervy relegation battle. Well Sam has never been relegated (from the Premier League) – he can handle those high pressure situations. In fact, he thrives on them.

“He’s great at reorganising teams. Look at the way he took over West Ham after relegation and led them back to the Premier League. That feels a bit like where England are at right now. They need a fresh start.

“He’s good at coming up with a clear plan and getting the very best out of his players. A lot of people have had a go at him for the style of football, but I think he’s more than just a long ball manager. What he does is look at the players he’s got available and then finds a system to suit their strengths. It’s always round pegs in round holes and previous managers haven’t always done that.”

Butcher added: “‘Big Sam’ won’t be frightened of anything. He can deal with the press and he’ll play whoever he wants – maybe more players will be included on form rather than reputation. He’s honest, calls things as he sees it and players always appreciate that.

“I hope he goes in there and shakes the players up a bit. I want him to tell them ‘you let your country down, now let’s prove to people that England can be winners when it matters’.”

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