Sam Allardyce is set to make a shock return to playing duties, announcing this morning that he will assume the position of player-manager for the rest of the season. The 61 year old is making the bold move in his continued search for solutions to Sunderland’s on-field woes.
“Dalglish did it,” said Allardyce. “He was player-manager at Liverpool, and no disrespect to Kenny, but he’s maybe not achieved what I have in the game. I think I can do it a little differently than Kenny.”
Allardyce will make himself available for Monday’s visit to Selhurst Park, but has no intention of returning to his old playing position.
“Centre half is a young man’s game,” said Allardyce. “I’m not naive. Where I can really add value to the team is on the left wing. Beating the full-back, getting to the byline and delivering crosses. I only wish I had another me in the box to get on the end of them,” half-joked Allardyce.
Club captain John O’Shea is cautiously optimistic about the move.
“23 years is a long time out of the game. I think the gaffer’s going to maybe need 6 to 8 games to recapture the kind of form he was showing in the mid 80s.”
Allardyce himself needs no convincing. “The problem is all these foreign managers. We’ve forgotten what it is to roll our sleeves up and get stuck in, but I intend to change all that. And if it leads to an England call up, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”