England manager Sam Allardyce admits he will suffer from nerves against Slovakia

England manager Sam Allardyce admits he will suffer from nerves against Slovakia
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Sam Allardyce says he will have to contend with nerves as he prepares to take charge of England for the first time on Sunday.

The Three Lions face Slovakia in their opening World Cup qualifier in what will be Allardyce’s first match as England boss since he was appointed as Roy Hodgson’s successor earlier this summer.


England drew 0-0 with Sunday’s opponents during their disappointing Euro 2016 campaign and Allardyce expects to suffer from nerves right up until kick-off.

“Every new job that you get, you get nervous – you’re hoping your players go out and do your talking for you,” said Allardyce at his first pre-match England press conference on Saturday.

“When they go out over the white line you hope they do what we all want – obviously that’s a victory. I’ll be very nervous in the early part of the build-up to the game and probably just as we get there but once the game starts, it sort of leaves me and the focus on the match comes in.

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“I don’t hear the crowd around me, I just see how the team is doing and communicate with the team to make a difference if I need to.”

Allardyce took the unusual decision to name his starting line-up for the match two days in advance. The former Sunderland boss says he chose to release the team sheet early to take the pressure of his players before the game.

“I think that historically the team has never been kept a secret,” he said. “Why try and make it a secret when it’s going to get out anyway? I particularly wanted to work on the team as it’s my first get together.

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“The lads can go to bed and gets themselves ready, I can work on the team who’s playing against Slovakia tomorrow. Hopefully that work has been good enough to try and beat a very difficult opposition.”

John Stones is set to start alongside Gary Cahill in the centre of defence and Allardyce says the match is a good chance for the young defender, along with all of his team-mates, to stake a claim for a permanent starting place for the national side.

“You want to see your players grab the shirt and maintain the level of performance you know they can achieve,” Allardyce said.

“The previous games, with the exception to Iceland, were exceptionally good – so those players that have the shirt this time will hopefully play as well to keep that shirt and make life extremely difficult for me to change the team.”

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England are favourites to win their qualification group which also includes Scotland, Slovenia, Lithuania and Malta.


  • Slovakia 17:00 England
  • Czech Rep 19:45 Northern Ireland
  • Malta 19:45 Scotland
  • San Marino 17:00 Azerbaijan
  • Denmark 17:00 Armenia
  • Kazakhstan 17:00 Poland
  • Lithuania 17:00 Slovenia
  • Norway 19:45 Germany
  • Romania 19:45 Montenegro

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