Former Bolton Wanderers captain, Austin Okocha has backed his former coach Sam Allardyce to create the type of environment that will enable England to thrive after years of underachievement.
Allardyce signed Okocha on a free transfer in 2002 when Bolton was manager and it proved to be one of his most successful moves in the transfer market with the playmaker bringing flair and excitement to the Reebok Stadium.
England underperformed at a major tournament yet again when they were dumped out of Euro 2016 by Iceland – but Okocha believes they now have the right man holding the coaching reins.
‘Sam is a great manager because of his man-management skills. He knows how to get the best out of the players,’ the Nigerian said.
‘One of his strengths is his attention to detail, which is second to none. He lets you know what he wants and gives you lots of detail of who you’re playing against.
‘Sam was very good at making it enjoyable and if he could do that with lots of foreign players at Bolton, it will be a lot easier to do it with people of the same mentality.
‘I have no doubt that the ambience in the dressing room will be fantastic and we shouldn’t forget that he’s well equipped with experience, so he will know how to handle issues.4
‘He’s not shy at experimenting with things, but he’s also good at knowing when to apply those things to get the best out of the team. He deserves to be England manager and I believe he will do a great job.’
England’s first match under Roy Hodgson’s successor is a World Cup qualifier against Slovakia on Sunday and while Allardyce has a reputation for favouring long-ball tactics, Okocha insists he will be more flexible than that.
‘What style England play will depend on who they are playing against,’ Okocha said.
‘I don’t think he will stick to one particular way of playing, he will prepare his team based on who the opposition are. It will be exciting to see what he comes up with.’
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