New England boss Sam Allardyce is an easy enough target to have a go at, without newspapers actually making up lies to have a go at him.
The fact he has been appointed manager of the national team is reason enough for ridicule but this latest newspaper report is a classic.
The Daily Star have published on Saturday a team of players that Sam Allardyce has picked, chosen from those who he has coached in his club career.
The big punchline in the Daily Star story is that he has not picked a single Sunderland player, the report reading…
Daily Star – 23 July 2016
‘Sam Allardyce picks best XI of players he’s coached… but there’s no Sunderland stars!
ENGLAND manager Sam Allardyce has picked an XI of the best players he’s managed during his time in the game.
The 61-year-old was appointed by the FA on a two-year contract yesterday following Roy Hodgson’s departure.
And he’s now revealed a team of the most talented stars he’s worked with during his time as a coach.
However, he didn’t include any players from his most recent club Sunderland.’
The eleven players Sam Allardyce has chosen are:
Jussi Jaaskelainen (Bolton)
Habib Beye (Newcastle)
Ryan Nelsen (Blackburn)
Winston Reid (West Ham)
Ricardo Gardner (Bolton)
Fernando Hierro (Bolton)
Jay Jay Okocha (Bolton)
Stewart Downing (West Ham)
Nicolas Anelka (Bolton)
Youri Djorkaeff (Bolton)
So yes, you can’t argue with the fact with the Daily Star’s assertion that there are no Sunderland players in Fat Sam’s choice but…there is one ‘small’ problem with their story.
This Sam Allardyce team was picked in October 2015 BEFORE he took over at Sunderland, so the Daily Star story might as well have expressed astonishment that he hadn’t included any Real Madrid players – because at that point he hadn’t managed/coached at either Sunderland or Real Madrid (or England).
The Sam Allardyce team was put together after he was asked to do so by the official Premier League website (October 2015) and as you can see above, he only picked the one player from his Newcastle days, Habib Beye, who he bought from Marseille.
Gary Speed is also selected but the pair were together at Bolton, a surprise there is no Kevin Nolan but Allardyce gives a part explanation below.
It could have been three former Newcastle players but Shay Given just missed out:
“It was a close call with Shay Given at Newcastle but I wasn’t there that long…”
Left central midfielder: Gary Speed (Bolton)
“It was difficult not to pick Kevin Nolan for obvious reasons, but I went for Gary. The combination of the three would tantalise any midfield in the Premier League today, if they were together in their prime. All three didn’t play together because Gary came just after Fernando (Hierro) left. He was Mr Dependable as well.”
Right back: Habib Beye (Newcastle)
“Right-back was a tough choice. Habib Beye, who I took to Newcastle after being Marseille captain, was one of the best players to have adjusted to the Premier League. He finished player of the year in his first season. That meant he just pipped Michel Salgado, who I got from Real Madrid at Blackburn. Michel was at the latter stage of his career so Habib just edged him.”